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Professor Stephen Goodbourn

Professor of Biomolecular Science
Head of reserach group working on RNA viruses and anti-viral immunity

Professor Steve Goodbourn is a principal investigator of a research group based at St. George's, University of London that studies antiviral immunity, and the evasion of host immunity by viruses

Professor Goodbourn has been at St George’s since 1994. Prior to this he graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford in 1979, where he also gained his DPhil in Clinical Medicine studying under Professor Sir David Weatherall in 1983.

From 1983 to 1987 Professor Goodbourn was a post-doctoral fellow in Professor Tom Maniatis’ group at Harvard University, and from 1987 until 1994 he was the head of the Gene Expression Laboratory at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now part of Cancer Research UK) in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. He has served in editorial roles on The Biochemical Journal and Trends in Genetics, was a member of the Society for General Microbiology virus group, has served on grant review panels and has given numerous invited lectures.

He is interested in the means by which viruses evade the body’s system of defence against infection and how this impacts on the virus’ host range (what animals they infect) and pathogenicity (the severity of the disease they cause). Type I interferons, which are substances produced by virus-infected cells, comprise the host's primary (innate) line of defence against viruses. They are secreted from the infected cell and induce the expression of a diverse group of genes that create an antiviral state in neighbouring uninfected cells. To establish infections in vivo (inside the body), therefore, viruses must replicate in the face of this powerful defence mechanism.

In collaboration with other groups Professor Goodbourn's group are studying the specifics of evasion strategies used by paramyxoviruses, African Swine Fever Virus, pestiviruses, influenza A virus, and other avian viruses. His group's conclusions demonstrate that viral evasion of innate immunity is a widespread phenomenon and that a variety of distinct mechanisms are employed.

2013–2018, £689,992. “Developing Rapid Responses to Emerging Virus Infections of Poultry”. A multi-centre BBSRC-funded strategic LoLa.

2014–2019, £804,130  “The interaction of paramyxoviruses with the interferon system”. A joint Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award between myself and Professor Rick Randall (University of St. Andrew’s).

2018–2021, £487,598 "Development of live attenuated vaccine candidates for Newcastle Disease Virus.” A Newton Fund/BBSRC award, in collaboration with Imperial College London and BIOTEK, Thaliand. My component of the award is £487,598

Research group

PhD students

  • Jack Hankinson; Interaction of paramyxoviruses with the interferon system

Postodoctoral Researchers

  • Kay Childs: Interaction of paramyxoviruses with the interferon system

  • Sam Hardy: Development of live attenuated vaccine candidates for Newcastle Disease Virus

I am module lead for our year 3 BSc/Intercalated BSc module "immunity and Infection"

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