Please contact Eddie Holmes () if you would like to join our group.
The rapid increase in sequence data for viruses enables us to analyze their genome structure and evolution in great detail at the molecular. I'm interested in the genome evolution of viruses and using comparative genomics and bioinformatics to propose models how viruses gain their distinct features. Improving our knowledge about the genome evolution of viruses can help to identify new approaches for virus related diseases.
Francesa Di Giallonardo
My research interests lie in understanding the mechanisms that underpin viral evolution and emergence, and which are central to the prevention and control of major epidemics. There is an urgent need to better characterise the circulating genetic diversity of viral populations and therein improve vaccine specificity. My work here largely focuses on two viruses – dengue and chikungunya – that have recently expanded their geographical range. I will use computational tools to analyse the genomes and reveal the pathways of viral spread on global and regional scale.
RNA viruses are ubiquitous in nature, infecting plants, animals, bacteria and, of course, humans. This widespread abundance throughout the domains of life demonstrates an immense genetic diversity that allows RNA viruses to adapt and evolve in the face of ever changing environments and hosts. The ultimate aim of my research is to explain and identify the source of genetic diversity in RNA viruses. This work has led me to examine patterns of evolution of RNA viruses as well as the underlying mechanisms that control replication fidelity (mutation rates) in RNA-dependent RNA polymerases.
My research area is computational evolutionary biology. I mainly work on the evolution and molecular epidemiology of influenza viruses (human and avian influenza, including highly pathogenic H5N1). I have also been involved with the analysis of other pathogens such Plasmodium malaria and HIV. I currently develop statistical models aiming at identifying geographic and evolutionary patterns of infectious diseases.
Mathematical modelling is a useful and necessary tool for projecting how disease – both communicable and non-communicable – is likely to progress in a population. In particular, models can help inform how movement of humans and animals may impact the dynamics of disease transmission. I am interested in modelling these dynamics to gain a better understanding of how to control and prevent disease.
My main research interest is to understand the virulence, pathogenic, and evolutionary mechanisms of bacterial pathogens. In addition, I am interested in understanding the biology of bacteriophages and their cooperative roles in the evolution of virulence. My previous research contributed substantially to understanding the emergence and evolution of the enteric pathogen, Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera. My work also addressed pathogenic mechanisms in enteric bacteria and the mechanisms of horizontal transfer of virulence associated genes. My current research is focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms underling antibiotic resistance, to construct molecular biology tools to fight against antibiotic resistance bacteria, and to understand the evolution of virulence in the plague pathogen Yersinia pestis.
My general research interests involve the molecular characterisation of RNA viruses. In particular, I am interested in exploring RNA virus evolution, especially with respect to the Caliciviridae. I am also interested in identifying the key evolutionary mechanisms employed by viruses, and understanding how viruses continue to persist and cause disease. My current research aims to investigate the evolution of virulence in viral pathogens using Rabbit Haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) as a model system. This virus likely evolved from a non-virulent predecessor via mutation into an extremely virulent virus. I aim to identify and characterise the likely genetic switches responsible for the acquisition of virulence and tissue tropism, thereby understanding how virulence has been attained.
Zoe Patterson Ross
I started my PhD with the Holmes lab in 2014, looking at how virulence and host range evolve in RNA viruses, with an initial focus on influenza virus. My interests are in evolutionary biology, biochemistry and science communication.
I have a broad interest in molecular evolution with viruses my main model organism. Currently, I'm working on the patterns and determinants of cross-species virus transmission and emergence, and which represents a substantial threat to both public and animal health. The aim of my research is to; (i) examine the role of cross-species transmission in virus evolution, (ii) characterize cross-species transmission events in a wide array of viral families, and (iii) use molecular evolutionary approaches to identify the genetic signature of virus adaptation during these host jumps. Combined, my analyses will help provide guidance in disease control and prevention. I am actively collaborating with the China CDC.