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Jonathan Ball

Professor of Molecular Virology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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Expertise Summary

We coordinate an international translational hepatitis C virus (HCV) research program. Major achievements include: (i) identification and characterisation of potent and broadly neutralising murine and human monoclonal antibodies; these antibodies and their epitopes are the subject of several patents, (ii) identification of glycoprotein domains and residues critical for receptor binding, entry and infectivity, and (iii) the generation of new methods and the construction of tools for HCV glycoprotein research. The virology group also has an active interest in HIV pathogenesis and prevention. Ongoing studies focus on viral factors that influence sexual transmission. This work has led to (i) the discovery that selective transmission of CCR5-tropic HIV is not due to selective expression of CCR5 in the female and male genital tract, and (ii) that different anatomical sites (e.g. brain and semen) harbour HIV strains that exhibit unusual phenotypic properties not represented by strains circulating in the periphery.

Research Summary

Studies of the causes and effects of HIV and HCV quasispecies evolution. We are particularly interested in understanding how genetic variability influences envelope glycoprotein structure and… read more

Selected Publications

Following my British Science Association media fellowship at the BBC, I have become an avid science communicator. Here are some of my online and radio pieces, and I am always looking for opportunities for more, so please get in touch!

Broadcast radio packages

1. Report on global warming and increased risk of exotic viral infections. BBC World Service Health Check. First broadcast on 19th September 2012 and repeated on 20th and 23rd September 2012.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00ys6mq

2. Report on the science of viral zoonoses. BBC World Service Science in Action. First broadcast on 4th October 2012 and repeated on the 5th October 2012.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00yk1pw

Published articles since fellowship

1. Expert opinion: Schmallenberg virus is here to stay

https://www.agra-net.net/agra/animal-pharm/regions/europe/schmallenberg-virus-is-here-to-stay-says-uk-academic-29565.htm

2. Viewpoint: Farm virus spreads to deer

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21541997

3. What Ebola virus means for primate populations

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/20593634

4. Winter bugs: A yearly battle for dominance

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20910554

Published articles

1. English language 'originated in Turkey'

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19368988

2. More planets could harbour life

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-1954518

3. Fish oils 'help slow age decline'

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19494801

4. Goby fish 6,000km apart share eyeless common ancestor

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19440500

5. Nanoparticle 'risk' to food crops

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19320267

6. Neanderthal breeding idea doubted

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19250778

7. Fruit flies learn to spot eligible females by smell

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-1929906

8. Lethal snake viruses identified

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19261506

9. System could warn of solar storms

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19276003

10. Triassic amber yields 'ancient mites'

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19400520

11. Karate punching power 'all in the brain'

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19290320

12. Chimpanzee grooming is a 'postcode lottery'

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19410351

13. 'Super soup' test in asthma trial

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19514334

14. Brian Cox: Science cash hike 'a wise gamble'

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19513921

15. Antarctica warmth 'unusual, but not unique'

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19348427

16. Small dinosaur 'hunted like cat'

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19426885

17. Nudge tactics 'no magic bullet'

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19506608

18. Stereotypes 'evolve like language', say researchers

www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19487021

Radio production and research

1. Identified and researched item on potential use of bateriophage for the treatment of acne. BBC World Service Health Check. First broadcast on 26th September and repeated on 27th September 2012.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00z1jx9

2. Researched and prepared briefing notes for items on Integrated Assessment Models and on bumblebee navigation and helped with production. BBC Radio 4 Material World. First broadcast on 20th September and repeated on 24th September 2012.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mqq9x

3. Researched and prepared briefing notes for an item celebrating the anniversary of the publication of the book Silent Spring and helped with production. BBC Radio 4 Material World. First broadcast on 27th September 2012.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mwzwj

Current Research

Studies of the causes and effects of HIV and HCV quasispecies evolution. We are particularly interested in understanding how genetic variability influences envelope glycoprotein structure and function, and defining the host antibody response to these proteins. Ultimately we aim to use this knowledge to design new antibody-based vaccines and treatments.

Following a recent British Science Association Media Fellowship, I have become a science communicator convert and continue to write scientific articles for outlets such as BBC Online.

Future Research

Clinical trials of hepatitis C virus antibodies and pre-clinical trials of antibody based vaccines.

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

e: life-sciences@nottingham.ac.uk
t: +44 (0)115 823 0141
f: +44 (0)115 823 0142