Professor Jason Mercer PhD

Professor Jason Mercer

School of Biosciences
Professor of Virus Cell Biology

Contact details

G16, Institute of Microbiology and Infection
Biosciences Building

The Mercer Lab is interested in deciphering the complex interactions between poxviruses and their host cells during all stages of the infection cycle.


PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2005

BA in Biological Sciences and Chemistry, Northern Illinois University, 1998


Jason Mercer received his PhD in Molecular Virology from the Medical College of Wisconsin in the laboratory of Prof. Paula Traktman. He then moved to Zurich, Switzerland to the lab of Prof. Ari Helenius for postdoctoral training. In 2014, Jason moved to the MRC-Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology, University College London as an MRC Programme Leader in Virus Cell Biology. In 2019, Jason joined the Institute of Microbiology and Infection where his group will continue to combine classic virology and cell biology with state-of the art technologies to investigate the complex interactions between poxviruses and their host cells.


Prof Mercer will be involved in Undergraduate and Postgraduate teaching

Postgraduate supervision

Prof Mercer is not currently recruiting Doctoral (PhD) students or Masters students


As obligate intracellular parasites viruses rely on host cell factors for all stages of their replication.  Our group is interested in deciphering the complex interactions that occur between poxviruses and their host cells during infection.

We investigate how viruses initiate their internalization by endocytosis, and how they utilize transport within cellular endocytic systems to their advantage.  We are also analyzing how the viral genome and accessory proteins escape into the cytosol, and how replication proceeds.

For these we combine cellular, molecular, and virological techniques with state-of-the-art technologies such as automated small compound and image-based siRNA screening, advanced proteomics, super-resolution, live cell microscopy, and electron microscopy. Our particular interests lie in uncovering novel mechanisms by which poxviruses subjugate host cell functions to facilitate their entry, replication, and spread.


Recent publications


Samolej, J, Mendonca, DC, Upfold, N, McElwee, M, Landsberger, M, Yakimovich, A, Patel, AH, Strang, BL & Mercer, J 2024, 'Bisbenzimide compounds inhibit the replication of prototype and pandemic potential poxviruses', Microbiology spectrum, vol. 12, no. 4, e0407223.

Samolej, J, White, IJ, Strang, BL & Mercer, J 2024, 'Cardiac glycosides inhibit early and late vaccinia virus protein expression', Journal of General Virology, vol. 105, no. 3, 001971.

Pokorny, L, Burden, JJ, Albrecht, D, Bamford, R, Leigh, KE, Sridhar, P, Knowles, TJ, Modis, Y & Mercer, J 2024, 'The vaccinia chondroitin sulfate binding protein drives host membrane curvature to facilitate fusion', EMBO Reports, pp. 1-16.

Landsberger, M, Quick, J & Mercer, J 2023, 'Coding-Complete Genome Sequences of Copenhagen and Copenhagen-Derived vP811 Strains of Vaccinia Virus Isolated from Cell Culture', Microbiology resource announcements, vol. 12, no. 4, e0009023.

Fisch, D, Pfleiderer, MM, Anastasakou, E, Mackie, GM, Wendt, F, Liu, X, Clough, B, Lara-Reyna, S, Encheva, V, Snijders, AP, Bando, H, Yamamoto, M, Beggs, AD, Mercer, J, Shenoy, AR, Wollscheid, B, Maslowski, KM, Galej, WP & Frickel, E-M 2023, 'PIM1 controls GBP1 activity to limit self-damage and to guard against pathogen infection', Science, vol. 382, no. 6666, eadg2253.

Bidgood, SR, Samolej, J, Novy, K, Collopy, A, Albrecht, D, Krause, M, Burden, JJ, Wollscheid, B & Mercer, J 2022, 'Poxviruses package viral redox proteins in lateral bodies and modulate the host oxidative response', PLoS Pathogens, vol. 18, no. 7, e1010614.

Martin, CK, Samolej, J, Olson, AT, Bertoli, C, Wiebe, MS, De Bruin, RAM & Mercer, J 2022, 'Vaccinia Virus Arrests and Shifts the Cell Cycle', Viruses, vol. 14, no. 2, 431.

Wood, JJ, White, IJ, Samolej, J & Mercer, J 2021, 'Acrylamide inhibits vaccinia virus through vimentin‐independent anti‐viral granule formation', Cellular Microbiology, vol. 23, no. 8, e13334.

Welten, SPM, Oderbolz, J, Yilmaz, V, Bidgood, SR, Gould, V, Mercer, J, Spörri, R & Oxenius, A 2021, 'Influenza- and MCMV-induced memory CD8 T cells control respiratory vaccinia virus infection despite residence in distinct anatomical niches', Mucosal immunology, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 728-742.

Huttunen, M, Samolej, J, Evans, RJ, Yakimovich, A, White, IJ, Kriston-Vizi, J, Martin-Serrano, J, Sundquist, WI, Frickel, E-M & Mercer, J 2021, 'Vaccinia virus hijacks ESCRT-mediated multivesicular body formation for virus egress', Life Science Alliance, vol. 4, no. 8, e202000910.

Yakimovich, A, Huttunen, M, Samolej, J, Clough, B, Yoshida, N, Mostowy, S, Frickel, E-M & Mercer, J 2020, 'Mimicry Embedding Facilitates Advanced Neural Network Training for Image-Based Pathogen Detection', mSphere, vol. 5, no. 5.

Mercer, J, Lee, JE, Saphire, EO & Freeman, SA 2020, 'SnapShot: Enveloped Virus Entry', Cell, vol. 182, no. 3, pp. 786-786.e1.


Krause, M, Yakimovich, A, Kriston-Vizi, J, Huttunen, M & Mercer, J 2021 'Vaccinia virus subverts xenophagy through phosphorylation and nuclear targeting of p62' bioRxiv.

Giotis, ES, Laidlaw, SM, Bidgood, SR, Albrecht, D, Burden, JJ, Robey, RC, Mercer, J & Skinner, MA 2020 'Modulation of early host innate immune response by a Fowlpox virus (FWPV) lateral body protein' bioRxiv.

Bidgood, SR, Novy, K, Collopy, A, Albrecht, D, Krause, M, Burden, JJ, Wollscheid, B & Mercer, J 2020 'Poxviruses package viral redox proteins in lateral bodies and modulate the host oxidative response' bioRxiv.

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