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Dr Sarah Curtis

Dr Sarah Curtis

Research Associate

School of Medicine

029 2068 7060
2F03, Henry Wellcome Building for Biomedical Research, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN


I joined the Gallimore Godkin laboratory as a Research Associate in November 2018, working on developing influenza virus-based vaccines using a humanised HLA-DR1 mouse model. I was awarded my PhD in Human Molecular Genetics at the University of Bristol and undertook three years postdoctoral training in molecular biology with Professor Juergen Reichardt at the University of Sydney, Australia. In 2012, I joined Professor Sarah George`s lab at the Bristol Heart Institute where I developed an adenoviral-based gene therapy for potential applications in late vein graft failure. I continued working in gene therapy joining Dr Alan Parker`s virology lab at Cardiff University in 2015, engineering adenoviral vectors for translational cancer applications.


Academic record

2001 - 2005       Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). School of Medical and Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol

1996 - 2001       Bachelor of Science (Hons) Biomedical Science. University of the West of England 

Professional Research

2018 - present: Research Associate, Division of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University

2015 - 2018: Research Associate, Division of Cancer and Genetics, Cardiff University

2012 - 2014: Research Associate, Bristol Heart Institute, University of Bristol

2011 - 2012: Research Associate, School of Veterinary Science, University of Bristol  

2007 - 2010: Research Fellow, Bosch Institute, University of Sydney, Australia  

Honours and awards

  • British Society for Immunology Celebrate Vaccines Award (2020)
  • Grant reviewer for Health Research Council for New Zealand (2019)
  • Reviewer of manuscripts for Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer, Plos One, Journal of Orthopaedic Research, Inflammation Research and regular reviewer for Cancers  
  • University of Bristol Travel Bursary for Bone and Tooth Society Annual Meeting, Sheffield, UK (2003)
  • University of Bristol Travel Bursary for European Calcified Tissue Society Conference - 30th European Symposium on Calcified Tissues, Rome, Italy (2003)


Professional memberships

British Society for Immunology













Small group lecture, MSc students (Medical Microbiology: MBS 7008, Cardiff Metropolitan University) 

Vaccines generating a CD4+ T-cell response can delay, prevent or cure some cancers and infections. However, immunity is often inadequate, demonstrated by the high failure rate of cancer vaccines, or the challenges of generating a timely primary immune response against emerging viruses. The HLA class II bound peptide creates the structural determinant (i.e. epitope) recognized by CD4+ T-cells. Our laboratory has previously shown that particular amino acid substitutions in peptide flanking residues (PFRs) adjacent to an epitope transform its intrinsic immunogenicity leading to a striking increase in T-cell activation, even converting a null epitope into an effective immunogen. We propose using this universal approach to improve the inherent immunogenicity of a series of proteins by targeting these defined flanking residues. My research will focus on the development of vaccines for testing in vivo murine models of disease where CD4+ T-cell responses are known to be crucial to outcome: acute infection model (influenza) and chronic condition model (cancer).


2017   British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy Meeting, Cardiff. Conference volunteer.

2016   Cancer Research UK Open Day, Cardiff. A showcase of Dr Parker`s laboratory, interacting with members of the general    public and re-constructing adenovirus structures using craft materials. 

Blog article: Turning up the Heat on Cancer Immunotherapy (2016). British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy 

2015   British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy Meeting, Glasgow. Interacted with year 12 children and members of the general public showcasing the work of Dr Parker`s laboratory at Cardiff University. Demonstrated how we make viruses for cancer gene therapy using craft materials. 

Areas of expertise

External profiles