The Rihn Group

Research Overview

Viruses display perhaps the greatest biodiversity on Earth. What enables such successful colonisation? We're fascinated by the diverse host and viral factors involved in virus spread. By investigating virus fitness and host defenses from diverse perspectives, our research explores the molecular determinants involved in the emergence, transmission and adaptation of pandemic viruses.

Current research

Our work primarily investigates fitness and interferon-related determinants of virus transmission.  Until recently, this was largely in the context of HIV-1, where we’ve been interested in HIV-1 transmitted founder viruses, and the molecular factors that enable their successful spread in human hosts.

However, from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to contribute to the molecular virology research response. Correspondingly, we are now expanding our research programme to investigate possible sources of future coronavirus epidemic or pandemic threats.  Of the seven confirmed human coronaviruses, five appear to have origins in bats, while two are widely believed to have rodent origins.   Could other coronaviruses of bats or rodents have pandemic potential?  What factors would enable cross-species transmission of these viruses?


Key findings 

In addition, our recent research has investigated:

For more details on our other research, please visit my Google Scholar page: 

Research group members

Profile picture of Dr Suzannah Rihn

Suzannah Rihn
Principal Investigator 

Hollie Jackson Ireland
PhD Student

Head shot of Douglas Stewart

Douglas Stewart
Research Technician 






University of Glasgow