The Wilson Group

Research Overview

My group focuses on identifying and characterising interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) that protect cells from viral infection. Using ISG expression libraries we study a diverse range of viruses and are particularly interested in how interferon-stimulated defences impact the emergence and pathogenesis of viruses in human populations.

Current research

Our lab is interested in the molecular details of why viruses can thrive in some situations but are unable to infect or replicate in others. Key processes such as viral transmission, emergence and pathogenesis are underpinned by the ability of a given virus to replicate in cells from a certain species, colonize particular tissues or endure in the face of activated antiviral defences or inhibitory compounds. Importantly, the molecular details of how viruses complete their lifecycles, particularly in the presence of host defences, can have a major influence on human health and prosperity. In the future, understanding these defences will help us predict which viruses will emerge in human populations and inform the design of new therapeutics and prognostic indicators.

Our focus on cross-species transmission means we primarily study viruses with pandemic potential (HIV-1/primate lentiviruses, influenza A viruses and coronaviruses) and our current research is encompassed by three broad themes:

1. Defining responses to interferon (IFN) stimulation.

2. Identifying specific antiviral effectors.

3. Uncovering the molecular details of antiviral activity, and where possible, integrating these with animal model, patient, population and species level data.

Research group members


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Sam Wilson
Principal Investigator

Matt Turnbull 
Research Associate

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Spyridon Lytras
PhD Student 

Innes Jarmson

Innes Jarmson
PhD Student

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Emma Davies
PhD Student