Having gained my BSc (hons) in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of Sheffield in 1993, I moved to the University of Sheffiled Medical School, whereby I undertook a MSc in Clinical Pathology and my doctorate in philosophy (PhD). My doctorate research studies involved constructing chimaeric fusion proteins to ehnance the immunogenicity of recombinant gp120 of HIV-1 for vaccination. I then completed a two year postdoctoral position at the same University that expanded on my PhD scientific findings.
Since 2002, I have undertaken several postdoctoral positions at University College London, whereby I have gained research experience in a wide variety of disciplines 1) Construction of AAV and Lentiviral based vectors encoding huFIX to be used in gene therapy for the treatment of Haemophilia B. 2) Quantification of reverse transcriptase activity using F-PERT in serum and CSF of patients with sporadic ALS. 3) Performing genotypic and phenotypic resistant testing to detect the impact of viral variants in HIV-1 gag-pol genomic regions on drug resistance and viral fitness.
In 2010, I moved to the Department of Virology, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, where I was employed as a HIV-1 Healthcare Scientist
I joined the University of Westminster in January 2015, as a Lecturer in Molecular Biology and progressed to Senior Lecturer in August 2017.
My research interests currently focus on HCV and HIV antiviral drug resistance, and the involvement of Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs) in sporadic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (sALS).
My HCV research is concerned with determining the prevalence of novel and resistant associated minority variants in drug targeted HCV genomic regions (NS3, NS5A and NS5B) in various patient cohorts by population sequencing and Next Generation Sequencing analysis(NGS). In addition, utilisation of NGS to determine HCV genotype, mixed infections, recombinant events and new circulating forms, ultimately to improve patient treatment response to FDA approved direct acting antiviral agents (DAAs).
My HIV research focuses on the characterisation of both novel and minority viral variants in HIV-1 gag and pol genomic regions, both in terms of their impact on drug susceptibility and viral fitness, utilising an in vitro pseudotyped viral vector phenotypic resistance assay.
From my previous research findings, I was able to measure elevated levels of reverse transcriptase activity in serum samples obtained from patients with ALS compared to matched controls. Having obtained an initiated grant ward from the ALSA for $327,000 in August 2017, my current research extends from this preliminary research work and is involved in Investigating the role of Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs) in sporadic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in both blood and brain biopsy material obtained at post-mortem by real-time qPCR, NGS and microarray technology.