Photo of Prof James Stewart

Prof James Stewart PhD

Chair of Molecular Virology Infection Biology & Microbiomes

Research

The role of autophagy in virus pathogenesis

With Tom Wileman (Quadram Institute Bioscience) and funded by a BBSRC project grant (one PDRA), I am studying the influence of non-canonical autophagy (LC3-associated phagocytosis, LAP) on virus pathogenesis and the development of inflammation. This uses KO and conditional KO mice models combined with viruses expressing cre recombinase to dissect out the influence of different autophagy pathways and cell types. With a joint PhD studentship, we have generated preliminary data showing that LAP-deficient mice are more susceptible to flu infection and are mapping the changes in the innate and adaptive response

Innate host-defence function in the respiratory tract

BPIFA1/SPLUNC1 is secreted into the mammalian respiratory tract. I have established model systems for studying SPLUNC1 function using knockout mice, conditional/inducible KO mice and 3D tracheal epithelial cultures (mTEC). I have shown that SPLUNC1 restricts influenza virus infection by reducing binding and entry of influenza virus into cells (Mucosal Immunology). I have also shown that, unexpectedly, SPLUNC1 plays a critical role in the generation of virus-specific immunity (antibody and CD8 T cells) and hence immunity to re-infection. RNAseq and high-resolution label-free quantitative proteomics followed by informatics has revealed pathways and molecular signatures associated with SPLUNC1 action. Funded by a BBSRC grant (one PDRA), and supported by two PhD students, I am now identifying SPLUNC1 binding partners and assessing the function of SPLUNC1 (and associated signatures) in immunity against re-infection. SPLUNC1 may therefore have therapeutic potential.

Development of novel diagnostics and vaccines for poultry viruses.

With Hussein Ahmed (Cairo, Egypt) and Mohammed Munir (Pirbright Institute) and funded by a Newton Fund Institutional Links grant (one PDRA) I am developing novel rapid multiplexed diagnostics and multi-valent vaccines for viruses that cause significant welfare and economic impact in Egypt – specifically avian influenza, Newcastle disease and IBV.

Research Group Membership

Research Grants

Effective Diagnostics and Novel Vaccine Strategies for the Control of Multiple Respiratory Viral Infections in Egyptian Poultry

DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, ENERGY AND INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY (BEIS) (UK)

April 2018 - February 2021

The role of LC3-associated phagocytosis during virus infection

BIOTECHNOLOGY & BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL (BBSRC), UK RESEARCH AND INNOVATION (UKRI) (UK)

July 2018 - September 2021

Targeting the RNA helicase, UAP56: Understanding KSHV RNA Processing Mechanisms to Novel Antiviral Approaches

MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (MRC)

September 2018 - March 2022

BPIFA1: from anti-viral peptide to immunomodulator

BIOTECHNOLOGY & BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL (BBSRC)

October 2018 - October 2021

Bench fees Sanaria Al-Katy

ROYAL EMBASSY OF SAUDI ARABIA

October 2015 - September 2019

Research Collaborations

En-Min Zhou

Project: Hepatitis E Virus
External: Northwest A&F University

Hepatitis E virus

Mohammed Munir

Project: Poultry Vaccines
External: University of Lancaster

Poultry Vaccines

Hussein Ahmed

Project: Poultry Vaccines
External: University of Cairo

Poultry Vaccines

Adrian Whitehouse

Project: Herpesvirus drugs
External: University of Leeds

Herpesvirus drugs

Colin Bingle

Project: Respiratory tract infection
External: University of Sheffield

Respiratory tract defence

Simon Carding

Project: Mucosal Vaccines
External: Quadram Institute

Mucosal Vaccines

Tom Wileman

Project: Viruses and autophagy
External: Quadram Institute

Viruses and autophagy

Ralph Tripp

External: University of Georgia, Athens, USA

Host response to Influenza virus

George Russell

External: Moredun Research Institute

Pathogenesis of Malignant Catarrhal Fever

Anja Kipar

External: University of Zurich

Molecular pathology of virus infections