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Department of Pathology


Our Research

Our research group aims to understand how virus protein translation can play a role in viral pathogenicity and disease with a special focus on virus-host interactions. We use coronaviruses (e.g. MHV-A59 and SARS-CoV-2) and flaviviruses (e.g. Zika virus) as model systems. In order to study the viral and cellular transcription and translation at the global level in infected cells, the lab uses different techniques such as ribosome profiling (i.e. a whole-genome ‘snap-shot’ of host and viral mRNA translation) and RNA sequencing.

Current research topics include:

  • The role of Zika virus genome translation in neuropathogenesis
  • The pharmacological manipulation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) as an antiviral strategy for coronaviruses and flaviviruses
  • The expression of ORF9 gene in betacoronaviruses and its role in pathogenicity

Key Publications

King EL, Irigoyen N.Zika Virus and Neuropathogenesis: The Unanswered Question of Which Strain Is More Prone to Causing Microcephaly and Other Neurological Defects  Front Cell Neurosci. 2021 Sep 30;15:695106. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2021.695106. eCollection 2021.

Echavarría-Consuegra L, Cook GM, Busnadiego I, Lefèvre C, Keep S, Brown K, Doyle N, Dowgier G, Franaszek K, Moore NA, Siddell SG, Bickerton E, Hale BG, Firth AE, Brierley I, Irigoyen N.Manipulation of the unfolded protein response: A pharmacological strategy against coronavirus infection PLoS Pathog. 2021 Jun 17;17(6):e1009644. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009644. eCollection 2021 Jun.

Irigoyen N, Dinan AM, Brierley I, Firth AE., Ribosome profiling of the retrovirus murine leukemia virus Retrovirology. 2018 Jan 22;15(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s12977-018-0394-5.

Irigoyen N, Firth AE, Jones JD, Chung BY, Siddell SG, Brierley I. High-Resolution Analysis of Coronavirus Gene Expression by RNA Sequencing and Ribosome Profiling PLoS Pathog. 2016 Feb 26;12(2):e1005473. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005473. eCollection 2016 Feb.

Chung BY, Hardcastle TJ, Jones JD, Irigoyen N, Firth AE, Baulcombe DC, Brierley I.  The use of duplex-specific nuclease in ribosome profiling and a user-friendly software package for Ribo-seq data analysis RNA. 2015 Oct;21(10):1731-45. doi: 10.1261/rna.052548.115. Epub 2015 Aug 18.


Dr Nerea Irigoyen

Principal Investigator


Charlotte Lefevre

PhD Student