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Department of Pathology


Our Research

Our research is focusing on the replication and pathogenicity of intestinal RNA viruses, using astroviruses and enteroviruses as model systems. We are using human intestinal organoids as a platform to address gut-specific determinants of enteric virus infection and neuron infection models to dissect CNS-specific infections. We are developing and working with a range of molecular tools to address fundamental issues in enterovirus and astrovirus biology:

  • Regulation of translation, replication and virus release
  • Polyprotein processing dynamics
  • Replication signatures in the gut-specific environment
  • Conserved RNA elements, their functions and therapeutic potential
  • Determinants of neurovirulence


Key publications:


Ali H, Lulla A, Nicholson AS, Hankinson JWignall-Fleming EBO’Connor RL, Vu D-L, Graham SC, Deane JE, Guix S, Lulla V*. (2023). Attenuation hotspots in neurotropic human astrovirusesPLOS Biology, 21(7):e3001815.

Lulla V*, Wandel M, Bandyra KJ, Ulferts R, Wu M, Dendooven T, Yang X, Doyle N, Oerum S, Beale R, O’Rourke S, Randow F, Maier H, Scott W*, Ding Y*, Firth AE*, Bloznelyte K*, Luisi B*. (2021). Targeting the conserved stem loop 2 motif in the SARS-CoV-2 genomeJournal of Virology, 95(14):e0066321.

Lulla V*, Firth AE* (2020). A hidden gene in astroviruses encodes a viroporinNature Communications, 11(1):4070.

Lulla V*, Dinan AM, Hosmillo M, Chaudhry Y, Sherry L, Irigoyen N, Nayak KM, Stonehouse NJ, Zilbauer M, Goodfellow I, Firth AE*. (2019). An upstream protein-coding region in enteroviruses modulates virus infection in gut epithelial cellsNature Microbiology, 4(2):280-292.

Full publication list on Google Scholar




Dr Valeria Lulla

Principal Investigator


Dr Hashim Ali

Research Associate

Dr Jacqueline Hankinson

Research Associate

Rhian O’Connor

PhD Student

David Noyvert

PhD Student