My research interests include the biology of baculoviruses and their application as protein expression tools. These insect-specific viruses are harmless to humans but readily support the expression of significant amounts of proteins in laboratory cultures and in their natural caterpillar hosts. The virus has been developed for this application primarily as a result of two very strong promoters, regulating the viral polyhedrin and p10 genes, but whilst the role of the polyhedrin protein is well established, that of the p10 protein remains obscure. Knock-out and recombinant viruses are beginning to allow us to evaluate biological characteristics, and formulate possible funtions for this non-essential protein.
The use of the virus as a protein expression tool has grown over the past 30 years, but there are still a number of issues that plague users, and that prevent it being a usinversal system suitable for all appliations. Aspects of my research seek to address some of these issues, with a view to enhancing the expression system.
Research group membership
Insect Virology Research Group (led by Professor Linda King)
Baculovirus expression vector system utilisation and development.