The Grove Lab

Viral Entry Mechanisms

Research Overview

Enveloped virus particles (such as those of SARS-CoV-2, HIV and Hepatitis C) possess entry glycoproteins that are responsible for engaging with host cells and mediating fusion of host and viral membranes. Probably the most (in)famous example of a viral entry glycoprotein is SARS-CoV-2 spike. Understanding the molecular mechanics of these proteins informs on fundamental biology, immune evasion, virus evolution and vaccine design.

Current research 

We are currently investigating virus entry by Hepatitis C virus and SARS-CoV-2. There are ~70 million people living with HCV worldwide, and there is currently no vaccine to prevent ongoing transmission of HCV. SARS-CoV-2 continues to cause a global health crisis, a situation that has been exacerbated by the emergence of  new viral variants. 

We are addressing two over-arching questions:

  1. How do the HCV entry glycoproteins work? Answering this question will reveal fundamental biology and guide the design of HCV vaccines.
  2. How is the entry mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 altered in recently emergent variants? Answering this question will inform on the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 and allow us to consider what the virus might do next.

Our recent work suggests that protein disorder plays an important role in regulating entry by SARS-CoV-2 and HCV. We are using both systems to develop fundamental concepts around how viruses harness protein disorder and sequence diversity to fine tune and control their entry machineries.

Research group members





Headshot of Joe Grove

Joe Grove
Principal Investigator 


Diego Cantoni
Research Associate


Michael Oliver
Research Associate 

Kamilla Toon
Research Assistant

Headshot of Charlotte Lewis

Charlotte Lewis
Research Technician




Stephen Devlin 
PhD Student






  • CVR – Prof. David Bhella
  • CVR – Prof. David Robertson
  • CVR – Dr. Rob Gifford
  • Birkbeck – Prof. Adrian Shepherd