Vaccinology / protein expression
Research activities here are centred on the use of plants and of recombinant baculoviruses in insect tissue cultures to make candidate vaccines against Human papillomaviruses, HIV-1 subtype C, Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) of psittacines, H5N1 and H1N1 influenza viruses, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and Rift Valley fever viruses, and Foot and mouth disease virus. The use of geminiviruses as vectors of foreign genes in plants is a topic of interest. The group also has a strong interest in the use of novel DNA vaccine vectors incorporating Porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV-1) enhancer elements, and the use of plants to make commercially important reagents and diagnostics.
Marine Viromics / Virus Diversity
A recent project is a next-generation sequencing programme aimed at assessing oceanic and near-shore diversity of viruses, and in particular those associated with cellular organisms important in marine food webs. We are also continuing an investigation of plant geminivirus diversity and molecular biology (since 1985), of Human papillomaviruses (since 1989) and of Beak and feather disease virus of psittacines in southern Africa (since 2004).