Learn More About Our Research
We are sharing a love of knowledge about viruses and RNA
We are a growing group of similar-minded scholars interested in viruses, RNA. We strive to understand how virures exploit a plethora of complex molecular interactions to efficiently replicate and package their genomes. Together we grow up in an environment that emphasises learning and academic excellence, and enjoy our time in Cambridge.
Our research focuses on studying rotaviruses (RVs), which are a diverse group of pathogens responsible for >170,000 child deaths annually. Although mass vaccination against RV disease has been introduced in >100 countries and protects 80-90% of children in high-income countries against severe RV gastroenteritis, it reduced the disease by only 30-60% in developing countries. Despite the need for improved treatment strategies in regions with high RV-associated mortality, there are no available RV-specific antiviral drugs. Moreover, the emergence and spread of new RV serotypes remain a significant concern. RV genomes comprise 11 distinct double-stranded (ds)RNAs, termed ‘gene segments’. Genome segmentation contributes to the emergence of new viruses through a process called reassortment, whereby RNA segments are exchanged between different parental strains following co-infection. However, there is no detailed model describing the accurate packaging of 11 distinct single-stranded (ss)RNA segment precursors. Further mechanistic insights into the RV genome packaging will improve our understanding of the reassortment and evolution of RVs.