Dr Ian Mickleburgh
I graduated from the University of Leicester in 1996, with a BSc honours degree in molecular biology. For my PhD at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (supervised by Professor John Mathers and Dr Anne Curtis), I studied the functions of selected adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) protein domains when expressed in a colon tumour cell line and their interactions with butyrate. My first postdoctoral research associate position was with Professor John Hesketh, also at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, analysing the RNA-protein interactions involved in the perinuclear localisation of mRNAs in mammalian cells. Since 2005 I have worked at the University of Cambridge as a research associate. For most of this time I have been part of Dr Laurence Tiley’s group, involved in various influenza-related projects, including studying the interactions of influenza’s RNA polymerase with its genomic RNA, production of influenza-resistant chickens and generating transgenic eggs for improved influenza vaccine production. Between 2011 and 2013, I worked with Professor Chris Smith on how the alternative splicing regulator polypyrimidine binding protein (PTB) interacts with FAS pre-mRNA.
The project I am working on at present is to develop eggs for the improved culture of human-adapted influenza, to be used in vaccine production. Our goal is to generate genetically modified chickens that produce eggs with properties conducive to the efficient growth of human-tropic influenza virus strains. Specifically, we intend to increase expression of ST6Gal1 to produce more α2,6-linked sialic acid receptors and to use inhibitory genes to cripple the innate immune response of the embryo.