I read Natural Sciences at Girton College, University of Cambridge, graduating with a 1st class degree in 1997 and receiving the J. B. Buckley Scholarship and G. Crewdson Prize in Medical Sciences. I stayed in Cambridge to study for a PhD with Prof Andrew Lever in the Department of Medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, characterising genome packaging in human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2). This led to the development of the first gene delivery vector based upon this virus and an associated patent.
I moved to Leeds in 2001 to work with Profs David Rowlands and Mark Harris as a post-doc researching hepatitis C virus (HCV). My work identifying the function of the HCV p7 protein won me the UK Society of General Microbiology (now the Microbiology Society) Sir Howard Dalton Prize in 2003, and led to my interest in virus-coded ion channels, or “viroporins”.
I became an Independent Academic Fellow in 2007, and in 2010 moved my group to the School of Medicine at the St James’ Hospital University campus. In 2014 I was tenured as an Associate Professor of Viral Oncology and I am now Deputy Head of the Section of Infection & Immunity, Leeds Institute of Cancer & Pathology.
My research group focusses on small molecule inhibitor development targeting viroporins, both as therapies and molecular tools, as well as the role viruses play in the causation and possible treatment of human cancers.
I am a member of the UK Microbiology Society and currently sit on the Virology Division Panel. I am also a member of the editorial board for the Microbiology Society’s virology journal, Journal of General Virology, as well as Frontiers in Microbiology. I am a member of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) grants review panel, and act as an ad hoc reviewer for the research councils, Wellcome Trust and other agencies.