Understanding viruses’ ability to invade and multiply in the body holds tremendous potential for medicine.
We research the basic biology of viruses, aiming not only to develop new antiviral drugs, but to exploit the properties of viruses to engineer new ways of delivering drugs to specific targets, such as cancer cells.
Our focus is the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), a common and usually safe human virus that is easy to manipulate and that can invade many different types of cell. We are studying how this virus moves up and down nerve cells, how it replicates, and how it hijacks host cells.
This understanding of the virus’s lifecycle is enabling us to identify new drug targets and holds huge potential for the development of new therapies for cancer (oncolytic virotherapy) and nerve diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
By studying the HSV-1 virus we are developing a new vector, or vehicle that uses the properties of the virus to deliver therapies to drug resistant melanoma cells.
We are also identifying antiviral compounds in marine organisms such as abalone that can be used to treat recurrent HSV-1 infections.