I lead the Virus Genomics group’s research on all aspects of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 (HIV-1) theme and manage large-scale HIV-1 genome sequencing efforts as part of national and international collaborations. Current research focuses on (i) evolutionary dynamics of the virus within the host, (ii) influence of host genetic diversity and dynamics of the immune system on HIV-1 infection, and (iii) viral and host factors for progression to AIDS.
The PANGEA_HIV (Phylogenetics And Networks for Generalised HIV Epidemics in Africa) project I manage is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It aims to adapt modern molecular epidemiology and phylodynamics of HIV sequence data to generate new insights into HIV transmission dynamics in generalized epidemics in Africa, and to provide a potential new approach for the evaluation of transmission interventions. In order to achieve these goals a large network has been formed between partners across Africa, the United States of America and Europe. The expertise of various partners will be used to collect samples and demographic data, to generate up to 20,000 HIV-1 genomes, and to conduct appropriate scientific analysis of the data generated within the project.
In 2009 I joined the newly established Virus Genomics group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Here I applied molecular, genome scale and computational methods to debunk the incorrect association of Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-related Virus with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and to investigate HIV-1 genome variation and intra-host evolution. I have been involved in studies on the molecular epidemiology of pandemic H1N1 influenza and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. I am also a Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.
I graduated with a Veterinary Degree and obtained a Dr. med. vet. degree (PhD equivalent) in Molecular Virology from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany, in 2006. The work was carried out at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health. As a postdoctoral scientist affiliated with the German National and OIE Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza, I developed a microarray for diagnosis of influenza viruses which is used in diagnostic settings, including outbreaks, and has been commercialised.
I have a wider interest in diversity, host-virus interaction, evolution and ecology of RNA viruses, concerning animal, human and zoonotic viruses. A complete list of my publications can be found on Google Scholar.
From clinical sample to complete genome: Comparing methods for the extraction of HIV-1 RNA for high-throughput deep sequencing.
Virus research 2017;239;10-16
Nature reviews. Microbiology 2016;14;2;66
Dynamics of immunoglobulin sequence diversity in HIV-1 infected individuals.
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences 2015;370;1676
Disease progression despite protective HLA expression in an HIV-infected transmission pair.
Host genetic variants and gene expression patterns associated with Epstein-Barr virus copy number in lymphoblastoid cell lines.
PloS one 2014;9;10;e108384
Complete Genome Sequence of the WHO International Standard for HIV-1 RNA Determined by Deep Sequencing.
Genome announcements 2014;2;1
Transmission and evolution of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in Saudi Arabia: a descriptive genomic study.
Lancet (London, England) 2013;382;9909;1993-2002
Restriction of V3 region sequence divergence in the HIV-1 envelope gene during antiretroviral treatment in a cohort of recent seroconverters.
Universal amplification, next-generation sequencing, and assembly of HIV-1 genomes.
Journal of clinical microbiology 2012;50;12;3838-44
Evolutionary dynamics of local pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza virus lineages revealed by whole-genome analysis.
Journal of virology 2012;86;1;11-8
Disease-associated XMRV sequences are consistent with laboratory contamination.
Design and validation of a microarray for detection, hemagglutinin subtyping, and pathotyping of avian influenza viruses.
Journal of clinical microbiology 2009;47;2;327-34
Persistence of viral RNA in rabbits which overcome an experimental RHDV infection detected by a highly sensitive multiplex real-time RT-PCR.
Veterinary microbiology 2007;120;1-2;17-32
Coalescent Inference Using Serially Sampled, High-Throughput Sequencing Data from Intra-Host HIV Infection.