Prof Jason Mercer PhD

Prof Jason Mercer

School of Biosciences
Professor of Virus Cell Biology

Contact details

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


Fisch, D, Yakimovich, A, Clough, B, Wright, J, Bunyan, M, Howell, M, Mercer, J & Frickel, E 2019, 'Defining host–pathogen interactions employing an artificial intelligence workflow', eLife, vol. 8, e40560.

Pereira, PM, Albrecht, D, Culley, S, Jacobs, C, Marsh, M, Mercer, J & Henriques, R 2019, 'Fix your membrane receptor imaging: Actin cytoskeleton and CD4 membrane organization disruption by chemical fixation', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 10, no. APR, 675.

Laine, RF, Tosheva, KL, Gustafsson, N, Gray, RDM, Almada, P, Albrecht, D, Risa, GT, Hurtig, F, Lindås, AC, Baum, B, Mercer, J, Leterrier, C, Pereira, PM, Culley, S & Henriques, R 2019, 'NanoJ: A high-performance open-source super-resolution microscopy toolbox', Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, vol. 52, no. 16, 163001.

Novy, K, Kilcher, S, Omasits, U, Bleck, CKE, Beerli, C, Vowinckel, J, Martin, CK, Syedbasha, M, Maiolica, A, White, I, Mercer, J & Wollscheid, B 2018, 'Proteotype profiling unmasks a viral signalling network essential for poxvirus assembly and transcriptional competence', Nature Microbiology, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 588-599.

Martínez-Martín, D, Fläschner, G, Gaub, B, Martin, S, Newton, R, Beerli, C, Mercer, J, Gerber, C & Müller, DJ 2017, 'Inertial picobalance reveals fast mass fluctuations in mammalian cells', Nature, vol. 550, no. 7677, pp. 500-505.

Yakimovich, A, Huttunen, M, Zehnder, B, Coulter, LJ, Gould, V, Schneider, C, Kopf, M, McInnes, CJ, Greber, UF & Mercer, J 2017, 'Inhibition of poxvirus gene expression and genome replication by bisbenzimide derivatives', Journal of virology, vol. 91, no. 18, e00838-17.

Gray, RDM, Mercer, J & Henriques, R 2017, 'Open-source single-particle analysis for super-resolution microscopy with virusmapper', Journal of Visualized Experiments, vol. 2017, no. 122, e55471.

Yakimovich, A, Yakimovich, Y, Schmid, M, Mercer, J, Sbalzarini, IF & Greber, UF 2016, 'Infectio: A generic framework for computational simulation of virus transmission between cells', mSphere, vol. 1, no. 1, e00078-15.

Basagiannis, D, Murphy, C & Mercer, J 2016, 'VEGF induces signalling and angiogenesis by directing VEGFR2 internalisation via macropinocytosis', Journal of Cell Science, vol. 129, pp. 4091-4104.

Gray, RDM, Beerli, C, Pereira, PM, Scherer, KM, Samolej, J, Bleck, CKE, Mercer, J & Henriques, R 2016, 'VirusMapper: Open-source nanoscale mapping of viral architecture through super-resolution microscopy', Scientific Reports, vol. 6, 29132.


Fisch, D, Yakimovich, A, Clough, B, Mercer, J & Frickel, EM 2019, Image-Based Quantitation of Host Cell–Toxoplasma gondii Interplay Using HRMAn: A Host Response to Microbe Analysis Pipeline. in CJ Tonkin (ed.), Methods in Molecular Biology. vol. 2071, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 2071, Humana Press, pp. 411-433.


Gray, RDM, Albrecht, D, Beerli, C, Huttunen, M, Cohen, GH, White, IJ, Burden, JJ, Henriques, R & Mercer, J 2019, 'Nanoscale polarization of the entry fusion complex of vaccinia virus drives efficient fusion', Nature Microbiology, vol. 4, no. 10, pp. 1636-1644.

Beerli, C, Yakimovich, A, Kilcher, S, Reynoso, GV, Fläschner, G, Müller, DJ, Hickman, HD & Mercer, J 2019, 'Vaccinia virus hijacks EGFR signalling to enhance virus spread through rapid and directed infected cell motility', Nature Microbiology, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 216-225.

Culley, S, Albrecht, D, Jacobs, C, Pereira, PM, Leterrier, C, Mercer, J & Henriques, R 2018, 'Quantitative mapping and minimization of super-resolution optical imaging artifacts', Nature Methods, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 263-266.

Working paper

Yoshida, N, Domart, M-C, Yakimovich, A, Mazon-Moya, MJ, Collinson, L, Mercer, J, Frickel, E-M & Mostowy, S 2019 'In vivo control of Toxoplasma gondii by zebrafish macrophages' bioRxiv.

View all publications in research portal