Professor awarded £1.3m EPSRC Fellowship

Posted on 22 May 2018

Professor Reidun Twarock, Departments of Mathematics and Biology and York Centre for Cross-disciplinary Systems Analysis, has been awarded an EPSRC Established Career Fellowship for a project investigating virus structure, function and evolution that could lead to the development of novel anti-viral strategies.

Viral illnesses, such as Zika, Ebola and HIV, can have devastating impacts on human health. But viruses can also have positive effects; by balancing and stabilising our gut microbiome, viruses prevent serious illnesses such as certain autoimmune diseases. Understanding how viruses work is important in order to control and even take advantage of them.

Building on Professor Twarock’s previous research, including an ongoing Wellcome Trust funded joint Investigator Award with her experimental collaborator Professor Peter Stockley from the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds, the £1.3m project will develop novel mathematical techniques for unravelling viral features. The researchers will identify functionally important geometric viral features in different groups of viruses, unmasking functional features that can either be inhibited in anti-viral therapy, or repurposed for the development of new, safer vaccines.

Partners in this project include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Ohio University (USA), San Diego State University, University College London, University of California, Riverside, Institut Pasteur, Paris, University of East Anglia and University of Leeds.

Further information

Geometry as a key to the virosphere: Unmasking the fundamental roles of geometry in virus structure, evolution and pathology will begin 1 June 2018.

For more information about Professor Twarock's research, visit her academic profile.