Professor Wendy Barclay - Chair in Influenza Virology, Imperial College London
After graduating from Cambridge University, Wendy’s postgraduate study at the Common Cold Unit in Salisbury involved infecting human volunteers with cold viruses to understand why people keep getting colds year after year. In her two postdoctoral appointments, at the University of Reading and then Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York, Wendy learned the molecular virology skills that would form the technological basis of her research career. Upon returning to Reading in 1995 to a junior lectureship, she set up her research group to study influenza viruses. In May 2007 she took up a Chair in Influenza Virology at Imperial College London.
She is particularly interested in the mechanism by which viruses can cross from animal sources into humans to cause new pandemics. She sits on several advisory boards, for example, offering advice about respiratory virus outbreaks and also work with the Science Media Centre, whose aim is to improve the relationship between scientists and the media. Wendy has two children and a loving husband and they all enjoy skiing in the winter and sailing in the summer.
Dr Daniel Goldhill - Research Associate
Daniel is a post-doc in the HPRU in Respiratory Infections jointly between Public Health England and the Barclay lab at Imperial College. He has been researching how influenza virus might develop resistance to favipiravir, a new antiviral drug. Following his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at Oxford University, he crossed the Atlantic to do a PhD in Evolutionary Biology at Yale University. He joined Professor Paul Turner’s lab where he studied experimental evolution using the bacteriophage φ6. He was particularly interested in trying to understand adaptation by tracing a change in virus phenotype through a change in the genotype to a structural change in the protein to explain the phenotype. Since 2015, he has switched to work on a eukaryotic virus and has been using experimental evolution in an attempt to understand the mechanism through which influenza might develop resistance to favipiravir. Hopefully, his work will lead to a public health benefit in that we will be able to understand how viruses may become less susceptible to the drug and design better assays to test for resistance.
Dr Carol Sheppard - Research Associate
Carol received a BSc (Hons) Biochemistry degree from the University of Bath in 2007. During her degree, she worked for a year at GlaxoSmithKline developing techniques to measure preclinical biomarkers. After graduating she spent some time at UCB Celltech investigating the use of antibodies as therapies for autoimmune diseases.
In 2008, Carol started a PhD in Molecular Microbiology at Imperial College London. She joined Professor Ramesh Wigneshweraraj’s laboratory where she worked towards novel anti-microbial strategies by investigating the mechanisms of action of bacteriophage derived inhibitors of the bacterial RNA polymerase. After completing her PhD in 2012 she was keen to continue her interests and passion in transcription and virus-host interactions and was appointed as a post-doctoral researcher in Professor Finn Werner’s laboratory at University College London. Here she transitioned to the 3rd domain of life and characterised the first virus-encoded regulator of the archaeal RNA polymerase. She later extended her post-doctoral investigations by also exploring the transcription system of the MegaVirus ASFV. Carol joined the Barclay lab in April 2018 as a senior post-doctoral researcher where she aims to establish in vitro techniques to elucidate the mechanisms by which host cell factors regulate the influenza A virus RNA polymerase.
Dr Jay, Jie Zhou - Research Associate
Jay received his PhD in Virology in 2017 from the centre of influenza research, school of public health, the University of Hong Kong. His PhD project is to define the aerosol particle size which can mediate the airborne transmission of influenza viruses and investigate related molecular determinants. During this time he also conducted an air sampling surveillance at the live poultry markets in Guangzhou, China. Jay has been a postdoctoral research associate at the Barclay’s since January 2018. He is participating in the “Collaboflu” project which aims to study the transmission modes and evolution of human influenza H3N2 viruses.
Dr Raul Yusef Sanchez David - Research Associate
Raul received his PhD in Immunology in 2015 from the Paris Diderot University and the Institut Pasteur-Paris. His PhD project consisted in understanding virus sensing by the Rig-I Like Receptors (RLRs). RLRs are cytosolic pattern recognition receptors that sense viral RNAs and trigger innate immune pathways for the establishment of an inflammatory response in an infected tissue. During his PhD, he identified natural ligands of RLRs to viruses of positive and negative polarity. In parallel, he was interested in how the RNA silencing machinery influenced RLR recognition of viral RNA. Raul joined the Barclay Lab in February 2018 as a Post-Doctoral Researcher. His current work mainly focuses on understanding how the RNA polymerase of influenza A virus is involved in viral pathogenesis in mammals.
Dr Thomas Peacock - Research Associate
Thomas obtained an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Imperial College London in 2012. He went on to study for a PhD in avian influenza virus host adaptation and antigenic variability at The Pirbright Institute and Imperial College London which he completed in 2016. Thomas next went on to work as a postdoctoral scientist at UCL, studying innate immune sensing of HIV in different immune cell types. He has recently joined the Barclay Laboratory as a postdoctoral scientist working on swine host factors responsible for influenza virus replication.
Dr Jonathan Brown - Research Associate
Jonathan obtained an undergraduate degree in Biology from Imperial College London in 2011 and went on to gain a master’s degree in Immunology the following year. After a two-year sabbatical from science to teach English in South Korea, Jonathan returned to Imperial to study a PhD in Molecular Virology. His PhD was based primarily in the Influenza Resource Centre at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), a key player in the annual flu vaccine development process. Jonathan’s work focussed on tackling issues of cell-culture adaptation of influenza A(H3N2) viruses which affect the ability of institutes such as NIBSC to accurately characterise these viruses. After his PhD, Jonathan spent one year in the laboratories of Peter O’Hare and John Tregoning on an Imperial Confidence in Concept grant looking into HSV virology and novel vaccine development strategies.
In October 2019 Jonathan began work in the Barclay laboratory on a BBSRC grant developing flu-resistant chickens by targeting host factor ANP32.
Ecco Staller – PhD Student
Ecco earned a BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences from the Open University in 2013, followed by an MSc in Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2015. His MSc thesis work was with Professor Paul Farrell at Imperial College London, where he pioneered a CRISPR approach to editing Epstein-Barr virus genomes on bacterial artificial chromosomes. He worked as a research technician in Professor Greg Towers’ laboratory at University College London, screening HIV-1 capsid protein variants for bacterial expression and purification. He moved on to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where he significantly ameliorated a pipeline to extract and amplify early founder HIV-1 genomes from patient blood samples. He won an Imperial College President’s Scholarship in 2016, starting his research on the role of human / mammalian ANP32 proteins in influenza virus replication. He set up a CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing approach to the question and is currently busy collecting data and writing papers. Ecco has won a Principle Investigator Poster Prize at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference in Birmingham 2017, and an ISIRV travel and registration award to present his work at the 8th Orthomyxovirus Research Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2018.
Olivia Swann - PhD Student
Olivia graduated with a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2014. She then moved to Imperial College London to complete an MRes in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences. During this time she developed her interest in the molecular underpinnings of infectious disease. Following her master’s degree, Olivia spent some time working as a research technician in Professor Jake Baum’s lab, undertaking a variety of projects utilising CRISPR-Cas9 genetic editing to study the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum. In 2017 she commenced the Wellcome Trust Molecular and Cellular Basis of Infection PhD programme, completing three short rotational projects before joining the Barclay lab in October 2018. Olivia is currently working to develop techniques for visualising the site of influenza replication in the host cell nucleus. Hopefully, these tools will allow new insight into host factor interactions with the flu polymerase, and how these differ between strains that can infect humans vs those that only infect animals.
Becky Penn - PhD Student
Becky graduated with a BSc in Zoology from the University of Southampton in 2005 after which she worked as a Research Technician within the Environmental Healthcare Unit at Southampton University, investigating methods to detect and decontaminate prion infected material from surgical stainless steel. Becky then joined the Influenza Resource Centre at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in 2007 where she primarily focused on generating high growth reassortants for use as candidate vaccine viruses. During this time she also completed a part-time MSc in Health and Disease at Birkbeck University. In 2014, Becky took on a more senior role within the IRC, managing the laboratory work of the seasonal influenza team. This included organising the WHO serology testing required for vaccine strain selection, generating reagents for assessing vaccine potency and the development and distribution of seasonal candidate vaccine viruses. In October 2018, she joined the Barclay lab as a PhD student combining her interest in the influenza virus with her desire to conduct research. Becky is now working on trying to understand the pathogenesis of avian influenza strains in mammalian hosts and in particular, elucidating the role that the RNA polymerase has in determining virulence.
Alfred Ho – PhD student
Alfred graduated with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences from University College London in 2014. During this time, he worked on biofilm regulation in S. pneumoniae bacteria at the Royal Free Hospital as well as antigenic profiling of malaria proteins at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Alfred was awarded the Imperial-HKU Joint PhD Scholarship, giving him the opportunity to split his time equally between laboratories in London and Hong Kong, where he is studying mutational tolerance in the highly-conserved influenza virus hemagglutinin stalk region and its permissive role in giving rise to escape mutations to broadly neutralizing stalk-binding antibodies.
Rebecca Frise – Research Technician and Lab Manager
After completing her undergraduate degree in Microbiology at the University of Reading Rebecca spent several years working in a Structural biology lab at the University of Oxford. This provided a great opportunity to learn new tools and techniques not learnt during her degree. She joined the Barclay group as she had realised her true interest was in Virology and particularly Influenza. Since then she has worked on a diverse range of projects, mainly focusing on host directed anti-influenza therapies and antiviral resistance. In September 2017 Rebecca was awarded the Provost's Prize for Excellence in Animal Research at Imperial College.
Laury Baillon - Research Assistant
Laury graduated with a BSc in Biotechnologies from the University of Dijon (France) in 2013. She worked as a technician for several years on marine molluscs pathogens in IFREMER laboratory (French institute for marine research). Then she moved in 2015 to the Molecular Immunology and Virology unit of INRA (Jouy-en-Josas, France), working as research assistant on fish viruses. She got involved in European project called Novimark studying virulence markers of novirhabdoviruses infecting rainbow trouts. This experience allowed her to learn some techniques of molecular virology such as reverse genetics or production of modified viruses that she can now apply to influenza research. She joined the Barclay group in September 2019 as a research assistant.
Cemre Seven - MSc Student
Cemre Seven completed her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology & Genetics at Istanbul Technical University (Turkey). Her BSc project focused on the regulation of NLRC4 inflammasome assembly in innate immune cells. She started her MSc degree in Molecular Medicine at Imperial College London in September 2019, where she joined the Barclay Lab in March 2020 to conduct her MSc thesis under the supervision of Dr. Raul Yusef Sanchez-David. Her project focuses on the investigation of the interactions between the protein kinase SRPK1 and the influenza polymerase and particularly how this kinase may support the activity of the mammalian-adapted influenza A virus.
Ziyun Zhang - MSc Student
Ziyun Zhang completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Science at the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (China). In her second year, she joined an exchange programme at the University of Leeds. She is particularly interested in highly pathogenic Influenza viruses and related immune responses. She is currently studying a MSc in Molecular Biology and Pathology of Viruses at Imperial College London and is working in the Barclay laboratory under the supervision of Becky Penn.
Former Lab Members
Dr Anika Singanayagam - Former Clinical Research Fellow
Anika graduated in 2008 with a degree in Medicine from the University of Oxford. During this time, she completed a BA (Hons) degree in Medical Sciences, specialising in infection and immunity. As a postgraduate, she completed general medical training in London and subsequently entered speciality training as an Academic Clinical Fellow in Infectious Diseases and General Internal Medicine. Anika undertook a PhD investigating the biological properties of influenza virus haemagglutinin that impact its ability to cause disease in infected people and spread throughout populations. She has now returned back to her medical training.
Dr Jason Long - Former Research Associate
Jason completed a joint PhD project between the Barclay lab and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, investigating the likelihood of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu viruses obtaining human adapting mutations. He was a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Barclay lab since 2014. His work focused on the host restriction of the influenza polymerase and he discovered the importance of the host factor ANP32 for influenza evolution. He moved in 2019 to become a senior scientist at NIBSC.
Bhakti Mistry - Former PhD student
Bhakti graduated with a degree in Biochemistry at Imperial College London in 2014. After her degree, she started a 1+3 PhD programme, where in the first year, three research projects were undertaken as part of an MRes qualification. She completed her PhD in 2019, which focused on the host restriction mechanisms of the influenza polymerase and in particular the role of ANP32 proteins in supporting the influenza polymerase.
Ana Gallego Cortés - Former MSc Student
Ana Gallego Cortés completed her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at University of Salamanca (Spain). In her last year, she participated in an international exchange programme with the University of British Columbia (Canada) in which she specialized in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. After her degree, she did an MSc Molecular Medicine at Imperial College London where she joined the Barclay Laboratory to carry out her master’s final project under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Goldhill. Her project focused on studying polymerase mutations in H1N1 influenza A from 2009 pandemic to elucidate their implication in the fitness advantage of the virus and its resistance to favipiravir.
She left the lab in 2019 and is currently a lab technician at King's College London.
Jennifer Shelley - Former Research Technician and Lab Manager
Jennifer completed an MSc in Immunology at Imperial and then joined the Barclay lab as a Lab technician in October 2017. As well as administrative roles, she was involved in the ‘Collabaflu’ project which brings together a number of PIs from both inside and outside Imperial. They look at historically pandemic strains of flu and what makes them able to cause such widespread disease. She left in 2018 to do a PhD at Edinburgh University.
Jocelyn Schreyer - Former Research Technician
Jocelyn completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh and then joined the Barclay group as a laboratory technician in September 2017. Her project focused on the role of ANP32 proteins in supporting the influenza polymerase. In particular, she conducted a small molecule drug screen to search for small molecules which inhibit the interaction between ANP32 and influenza polymerase. She left in 2018 to go to medical school.
Martin Müller - Former Master's Student
Martin Müller completed his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the Philipps University Marburg (Germany) where he specialized in Infection Biology and Virology. His thesis was focused on the effect of interferon gamma on IL-9 signalling in Th9 cells. In 2016 he joined the Infection & Immunity masters program at Utrecht University (The Netherlands) and completed the first stage of the programme working on the influence of pro-inflammatory cytokines on regulatory T cells in chronic inflammation. In 2018, he joined the Barclay laboratory as a visiting masters student and was involved in work to elucidate the interaction between the polymerase of different Influenza A strains and host-factors of innate immune cells. He left in 2018 to do a PhD in Germany.