Infectious Disease Responses & Oncoviruses

Research interests in this group concern the development and application of molecular based methods, including mass spectrometry, to improve the identification, characterization and responses to viruses that cause infectious disease and cancer.

A particular focus has been to arrest the impact of the influenza virus. Influenza is responsible for as many or more deaths in Australia today than all individual causes of human cancers, with the exception of lung cancer. Furthermore, an estimated 15 percent of all human cancers worldwide are associated with viral infections. Improving our ability to identify and respond to such disease causing viruses is essential to reducing their burden on public health.

Recent work has involved the identification and development of new antiviral inhibitors to combat viruses associated with influenza and hepatitis C by exploring their mode of action using experimental and computational approaches. We have also developed new phylogenetics approaches to improve our ability to study and better understand the evolution of viruses with a view to reducing their impact.

Collaborative studies with colleagues in the centre, that involve the development of bioinformatics approaches and algorithms, have helped us to achieve these objectives.

Our research has also involved the application of a pioneering protein footprinting technology (RP-MS) to study proteins and their complexes that was developed by the group in collaboration.

For more information and to contact the Group Leader Professor Kevin Downard, click here