Infection and Immunity Group

What we do

We are interested in infection and immunity at the molecular level and our aim is to exploit this knowledge in the understanding and treatment of human diseases. Our research encompasses virology, structural biology, immunology, cancer biology and immunotherapy. We use a variety of approaches in our research, from computational modelling and basic biomedical research through to translational and clinical studies.

Aims and objectives

Our section brings together investigators with interests in virology, structural biology, immunology and cancer biology, with an emphasis on the molecular pathways that underpin these processes. Knowledge of the basic biological mechanisms that operate in these systems is being used to inform and design therapeutic approaches in infectious diseases and cancer. Our research includes studies in model systems (including computational modelling), preclinical studies and, both translational studies and clinical trials.

Virology research includes studies of influenza virus, hepatitis C and arboviruses (McKimmie, Griffin) and the use of viruses as therapeutic agents in cancer (Errington-Mais, Samson). Our structural biology interests include computational modelling of membrane protein dynamics (Kalli) and the design of small molecule inhibitors targeting viral ion channels known as viroporins (Griffin).

We are studying how steroids and nuclear receptors regulate cellular responses in cancer and inflammation (Matthews) and how both steroids and immunosuppressive cytokines modulate immunity (Matthews, Salmond, Cook).  We are interested in the basic biology of the immune system, including NK cell and T cell responses (Salmond, Cook), molecular dynamics of immune receptor molecules (Kalli) and the immune responses to viral infection and cancer (several groups), the latter of which includes translational studies and clinical trials (Errington-Mais, Samson). 

All academic staff in the section contribute to teaching in their specialist areas, including the teaching of medical students and undergraduate and postgraduate life sciences students.

Key publications

Key publications our team has contributed to

  1. Samson A et al (2018) Intravenous delivery of oncolytic reovirus to brain tumor patients immunologically primes for subsequent checkpoint blockade. Sci Transl Med. 3;10(422).
  2. Brownlie RJ et al (2017) Resistance to TGFβ suppression and improved anti-tumor responses in CD8+ T cells lacking PTPN22. Nat Commun 8(1):1343.
  3. Samson A et al (2018) Oncolytic reovirus as a combined antiviral and anti-tumour agent for the treatment of liver cancer. Gut 67(3):562-573.
  4. Schiffrin B et al (2017) Effects of Periplasmic Chaperones and Membrane Thickness on BamA-Catalyzed Outer-Membrane Protein Folding. J Mol Biol. 429(23):3776-3792.
  5. Pingen M (2016) Host Inflammatory Response to Mosquito Bites Enhances the Severity of Arbovirus Infection. Immunity 44(6):1455-69.
  6. Carrati G et al (2018) REVERBa couples the circadian clock to hepatic glucocorticoid action. J Clin Invest doi: 10.1172/JCI96138.
  7. Parrish C et al (2015) Oncolytic reovirus enhances rituximab-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity against chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Leukemia 29(9):1799-810.
  8. Nsengimana J et al (2018) Beta-catenin mediated immune evasion pathway frequently operates in primary cutaneous melanoma. J Clin Invest 128, 2048-2063.


Who we are


Group Lead
Professor Graham Cook

View our team members