Prof. David J. Blackbourn



Research Interests

Infectious agents, including viruses, are associated with up to 20% of human cancers. The Blackbourn laboratory studies two such viruses: Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV or MCPyV).

Our major interest is in how viruses cause disease and modulate the immune response. KSHV provides a model for most of our studies, but the impact of our work could extend to other viruses or host/pathogen interactions. Our main research topics in this context are: (i) how KSHV interacts with the DNA damage response. (ii) How KSHV modulates the type I interferon (alpha & beta) response. (iii) How KSHV deregulates antigen-specifc T cell responses. (iii) What are the consequences of KSHV infection on endothelial cell biology, including cell-cell interactions and regulating leukocyte recruitment.

For MCV, our interests lie in understanding the tumour microenvironment and how it contributes to the pathogenesis of Merkel cell carcinoma.

University of Surrey Profile