Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

Professor of Tumour Virology



+44 (0)20 7594 2005p.farrell Website




Section of VirologyNorfolk PlaceSt Mary's Campus





Paul Farrell's research is mostly on mechanisms by which the human tumour virus Epstein-Barr Virus causes human cells to proliferate and the role of the virus in human cancers.

Download a copy of the EBV genetic map  EBV map (pdf file)

Download a pdf file of my 2019 EBV and Cancer article from Annual Reviews in Pathology for personal use only.

Epstein-Barr virus is a human herpesvirus that infects most people in the world early in life and then persists life-long. Primary EBV infection that is delayed until adolescence or adulthood frequently causes infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever). Most carriers of EBV show no symptoms or pathology but in some circumstances EBV is associated with human cancers, the virus normally being present in all of the tumour cells of an EBV associated case. These cancers include lymphomas in immunosuppressed people (either as a result of medication after transplant surgery or AIDS), Hodgkin's disease, Burkitt's lymphoma in central Africa, nasopharyngeal carcinoma in South-East Asia and some gastric carcinomas. EBV infects human B lymphocytes and certain epithelial cells; infection of lymphocytes is readily accomplished in the laboratory and EBV drives the cells into a state of permanent proliferation.

Paul Farrell acted as Head of Molecular Virology at Imperial College 1996-2000 and 2011-2018. He was also Director of the London St Mary's branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research 1986-2005, at the same location. From 2009 - 2016 he chaired the Research Grants committee for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity (now called Blood Cancer UK) and he has served on numerous international advisory and review committees. 

Current research is focussed on

Superior B cell transformation by type 1 EBV

Worldwide EBV sequence variation in relation to EBV diseases

Roles of RUNX genes in human B cells



Lippert T, Marzec P, Idilli A, et al., 2021, Oncogenic herpesvirus KSHV triggers hallmarks of alternative lengthening of telomeres, Nature Communications, Vol:12, ISSN:2041-1723

Zha S, Chau H-F, Chau WY, et al., 2021, Dual-targeting peptide-guided approach for precision delivery and cancer monitoring by using a safe upconversion nanoplatform, Advanced Science, Vol:8, ISSN:2198-3844, Pages:1-15

Romero-Masters JC, Huebner SM, Ohashi M, et al., 2020, B cells infected with Type 2 Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) have increased NFATc1/NFATc2 activity and enhanced lytic gene expression in comparison to Type 1 EBV infection, Plos Pathogens, Vol:16, ISSN:1553-7366

Ponnusamy R, Khatri R, Correia PB, et al., 2019, Increased association between Epstein-Barr virus EBNA2 from type 2 strains and the transcriptional repressor BS69 restricts EBNA2 activity, Plos Pathogens, Vol:15, ISSN:1553-7366

Alizon S, Bravo IG, Farrell PJ, et al., 2019, Towards a multi-level and a multi-disciplinary approach to DNA oncovirus virulence, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences, Vol:374, ISSN:0962-8436

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