Our research focuses on the study of viral associated cancers; immune responses and vaccination for chronic viral infection; viral tropism and persistence pathways to escape host immunity.


Research areas

Adenovirus group

Adenoviruses can cause tumours in newborn rodents and can, therefore, be used as a model system for human cancers. By studying the relationship between the virus proteins and the host cell it helps us to understand some of the ways in which human cancers arise.

Clinical Viral Hepatitis

The Clinical Viral Hepatitis programme is led by Professor David Mutimer, Professor of Clinical Hepatology (University of Birmingham). The principle focus of the programme is the participation in pharma-sponsored trials of new antiviral drugs for chronic hepatitis C and hepatitis B infection.

Professor Mutimer is a PI in the NIHR Liver Biomedical Research Unit, and is responsible for the delivery of clinical trials in that setting. The team includes clinical trials nurses, trial coordinators and trial administrators, and the team is based in the Birmingham University Cancer Research UK Early Drug Development Unit.

Trial patients are seen in the outpatient department of the new QE Hospital and in the NIHR Wellcome Clinical Research Facility.

Recent and ongoing studies in hepatitis C treatment are typically part of large multicentre collaborative trials, and include phase 2 and phase 3 studies of many of the promising direct-acting antiviral drugs and combinations. The QE Liver Unit is one of the largest Liver Units in Europe, and special populations of patients include those with HIV co-infection and liver transplant recipients.

Enquiries from health care professionals and affected patients are welcome.

Clinical Virology

Birmingham Public Health Laboratory, the reference virus laboratory for the West Midlands Region is located at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital. It is part of Public Health England Regional Microbiology Network. Three Medical Consultant Virologists, Dr. Husam Osman, Dr. Erasmus Smit and Dr. Sowsan F Atabani, oversee the delivery of services and provide specialist clinical virology support and advice for the West Midlands Region and beyond. The laboratory is well staffed with clinical and biomedical scientists providing a comprehensive virology diagnostic service. Testing of routine and research specimens is carried out, including screening of blood-borne viruses using dried blood spots. The laboratory is well equipped with serological and molecular techniques including next generation sequencing for monitoring of viral resistance in HIV and HCV. The Consultant Virologists also provide clinical virology services for University Hospital Birmingham and work closely with clinicians in infectious disease, haematology, renal, hepatology, paediatrics, neurology, GUM and HIV medicine, intensive care units and general medicine. Consequently we have access to a huge range of clinical material ranging from paediatric infections, solid organ and bone marrow transplantation and also viruses of public health importance. Current research interests and collaborations include: viral infections post-bone marrow and solid organ transplantation, development of HIV and hepatitis resistance in the era of direct acting anti-virals and cART, and the improved screening, referral and management of patients with chronic hepatitis C within the region.

Find out more about Clinical Virology:



CMV : Transplants and Viral Immunity

Our aim is to find ways to engage the body’s immune system in fighting cancer, particularly cancers of the blood system. Linked to this research, we are also examining the response to infections that are commonly associated with cancer treatment, such as cytomegalovirus, as well as the development of immune responses during pregnancy.

EBV : Entry, Immunology and Oncogenesis

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is an important human pathogen, being prevalent in all populations worldwide. Primary infection and subsequent persistence is usually clinically silent, although in some cases primary infection can cause infectious mononucleosis. Importantly, EBV is also a tumour virus and is linked to around 200,000 cases of cancer annually

Viral Hepatitis

Our research focuses on understanding the mechanism of hepatitis B and C virus (HBV and HCV) entry into the liver and how the virus persists to evade innate and adaptive immune responses. Development of multi-cellular systems comprising hepatocytes and non-parenchymal liver cells have enabled us to uncover new pathways that regulate viral replication. We are exploring the impact of viral and bacterial co-infection on HBV and HCV pathogenesis and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Human Papillomavirus

Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are associated with the development of cancers at a number of epithelial sites. These include the anogenital sites of the uterine cervix, vulva, vagina, penis and anus, and within the oropharyngeal tract; primarily the tonsil and base of tongue. The incidence of HPV-associated cancers show site-dependent variability; it is decreasing at the cervix, moderately increasing at the penis, vagina and vulva, and showing significant increases at the anus and oropharynx.


publications-bodyParamyxoviruses are a large group of RNA viruses that includes many important human pathogens. Research at the University of Birmingham on Paramyxoviruses is led by Dr. Dalan Bailey and focuses on two childhood diseases; measles and respiratory syncytial virus.

The Bailey research group is particularly interested in examining the mechanisms paramyxoviruses use to both enter and escape from infected cells. These mechanisms are important for understanding how and why viruses cause disease and for designing new drugs and vaccines to tackle these infections in children

Oncogenic Mechanisms and Immune Control of Kaposi Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus

Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) usually causes an asymptomatic persistent infection of humans, where it infects B lymphocytes and endothelial cells. However, KSHV is the aetiological agent of the B cell malignancy primary effusion lymphoma and the endothelial cell malignancy Kaposi sarcoma which is the most frequently reported malignancy in untreated HIV-infected patients and sub-Saharan African men. KSHV infection is also associated with the plasmablastic variant of multicentric Castleman disease.