Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

Research Fellow



rachel.edgar Website




11Medical SchoolSt Mary's Campus





I am a Wellcome Sir Henry Dale Fellow and joined Imperial College in 2017. I work on the interaction between host circadian rhythms and viral infections.


In 2011, I completed my PhD in herpesvirus biology at the University of Cambridge. I then gained experience in circadian biology working as a post-doctoral research associate at the Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, and subsequently as an Investigator Scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.  


I'm interested in how the host circadian clock affects viral infection, at the molecular level in cells and also as disease develops in the whole animal. Reciprocally, I'm interested in how viruses can exploit our body clocks to aid their replication and spread.

Diverse biological processes exhibit circadian rhythms, including most facets of the immune response. In individual cells, molecular clocks coordinate a 24h programme of activity in fundamental processes such as gene transcription, translation, metabolism and bioenergetics. Using the model mouse pathogen Murid Herpesvirus 4, the circadian time of infection impacts upon virus replication in cells and disease progression in mice: Disease is enhanced when infection occurs at the onset of the rest period (morning), compared to infections occurring just prior to the activity (evening). Additionally, human pathogens e.g. Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and Influenza A cause more severe infection in mouse models where the circadian clock has been disrupted (arrhythmic Bmal1-/- mutants).  

My work is focused on understanding the mechanistic basis of circadian clock/virus interactions, using infection at different times of day, in different 'clock mutants' and with different model viruses to dissect which clock-controlled processes exert influence over infection.  



Lasselin J, Ingre M, Regenbogen C, et al., 2019, Sleep during naturally occurring respiratory infections: A pilot study, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Vol:79, ISSN:0889-1591, Pages:236-243

Henslee EA, Crosby P, Kitcatt SJ, et al., 2017, Rhythmic potassium transport regulates the circadian clock in human red blood cells., Nature Communications, Vol:8, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1978-1978

Edgar RS, Stangherlin A, Nagy AD, et al., 2016, Cell autonomous regulation of herpes and influenza virus infection by the circadian clock., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol:113, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:10085-10090

Milev NB, Rey G, Valekunja UK, et al., 2015, Analysis of the Redox Oscillations in the Circadian Clockwork, Circadian Rhythms and Biological Clocks, Pt B, Vol:552, ISSN:0076-6879, Pages:185-210

Valekunja UK, Edgar RS, Oklejewicz M, et al., 2013, Histone methyltransferase MLL3 contributes to genome-scale circadian transcription, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:110, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:1554-1559

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