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Department of Pathology


Our Research

Our researchers study viruses in all their diversity – from viruses with large DNA genomes such as poxviruses and herpesviruses and viruses with small DNA genomes such as papilloma and polyomaviruses, to retroviruses such as HIV, and many viruses with RNA genomes including noroviruses, bunyaviruses, Zika virus, astroviruses, enteroviruses and SARS-CoV-2. We also study plant and insect viruses and even viral ‘dark matter’ from environmental samples. We are interested in how viruses infect and replicate within cells, how they evade host immune responses and cause disease, how they evolve, and how viruses can be repurposed as biotechnological tools. Our different research groups have diverse interests but also work closely together to apply the latest techniques to the most pressing questions in virus research. Our work covers cell biology, molecular biology, protein and RNA structure and function, computational biology and bioinformatics, biophysics, genetic screens, proteomics, imaging, organoids, and high-throughput sequencing.

Members of the Division also work closely with companies to develop new approaches to prevent or control viral outbreaks by developing new vaccine platforms, to test new drugs, or even to develop new engineering solution for filtering viruses from the air. Our researchers have also been involved in SARS-CoV-2 and Ebola virus outbreak responses, working closely with agencies such as WHO and the UK Government. We have close links with colleagues across the University of Cambridge, with research institutes like the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, the Francis Crick Institute and the Pirbright Institute, and with members of the international research community.

Division Head: Professor Andrew Firth

Our Research Groups

Irigoyen Group

Understanding the role of Zika virus genome translation in viral pathogenicity and disease.

Crump Group

We investigate how viruses interact with and modify host cells during different stages of their infection cycles.

Doorbar Group

Research in the Human papilloma viruses (HPV) laboratory seeks to understand how HPV infection leads to disease.

Lulla Group

Replication and pathogenicity of intestinal RNA viruses.

Goodfellow Group

Characterisation of the novel mechanism of calicivirus protein synthesis.

Graham Group

We seek to understand the molecular mechanisms by which viruses remodel the composition and architecture of host membranes during infection.

Firth Group

We are interested in RNA virus molecular biology, gene expression, translational control, comparative genomics, and NGS analysis.

 Collier Group 

Our work is seeking to understanding HIV-1 replication in the brain as a cause of brain injury, treatment escape and barrier to achieving HIV cure.

Kenyon Group

Structure and function of viral RNAs with a focus on HIV, dengue and flu.

Skittrall Group

Our work is at the interface between mathematics and molecular virology.

Brierley Group

Translational control,  Ribosomal frameshifting and readthrough, Virus gene expression, RNA structure and function.

Kouzarides Group

Our group is interested in defining the mechanisms by which chromatin modifications function to regulate cellular processes.


Poole Group

Our group is researching the molecular mechanisms that control HCMV latency.