Dr David Allen
I studied for my BSc in Virology and Immunology at the University of Warwick, then completed my PhD working jointly at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England).
Following this, I worked with the Medical Research Council, and then returned to the Health Protection Agency/Public Health England, where I was Head of the Enteric Virus Unit.
I have worked with national and international public health agencies, including the World Health Organization, with the Global Polio Laboratory Network.
I am involved in the MSc in Medical Microbiology, as Deputy Module Organiser and amd part of the Programme Committee for this MSc programme.
My research interests are in enteric virus infections - particularly norovirus and enterovirus - and the virological features of these viruses that drive their highly dynamic epidemiology, allowing them to emerge and persist in human populations.
Enteric virus infections associated with gastroenteritis are common among humans. Whilst illness is usually mild and self-limiting, viral gastroenteritis causes substantial morbidity in the population: in particular, that associated with norovirus which has an estimated incidence in the UK community of three million cases each year. The plasticity of the norovirus genome and error-prone nature of its replication allows for the generation of genetically diverse populations of viruses that co-circulate, and selective pressure drives selection and the periodic emergence of novel strains.
My current research interests are focused in two main areas:
(1) evolution of the antigenic profile of a virus under selective pressure of host and population (herd) immunity; and
(2) the virus-host interactions made during the early stages of infection.
Currently, I am a co-investigator on a Wellcome Trust-funded collaborative project (with University College London, University of Liverpool and University of North Carolina), which will look at understanding the emergence of pandemic norovirus strains.
I am a collaborator in the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Gastrointestinal Infections, working on the Places Theme.
I am also a collaborator on a Food Standards Agency-funded project looking at assessing the contribution made by the food chain to the burden of UK-acquired norovirus infection (NoVAS project).
Vist the Allen Laboratory webpage: www.allenlabvirology.com