Dr Ceri Fielding
I'm a post-doctoral researcher within the 'Viral Immunology' group and also the 'Cytomegalovirus and Adenovirus Virology' group. My research looks at the interaction of cytomegalovirus with the human immune system. Cytomegalovirus is the major infectious cause of birth defects and results in significant problems in transplant patients.
- 2011-Present: Post-doctoral Researcher, Cardiff University
- 2006-2010: Kidney Research UK Career Development Fellow
- 2003-2006: Post-doctoral Researcher, Cardiff University
- 2001-2003: Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Wales College of Medicine
Education and Qualifications
- 1998-2001: PhD Molecular Virology, University of Wales College of Medicine
- 1998-1999: Diploma in Biomedical Methods, University of Wales College of Medicine
- 1994-1998: BSc (Hons) with Intercalated Year Virology, University of Warwick
Honours and awards
- Abstract Award, Renal Association conference (2010)
- Sheldon Wolff Prize for Cytokine Research, International Cytokine Society (2004)
- Microbiology Society
- British Society of Immunology
Committees and reviewing
- Welsh Representative, Forum Committee, British Society of Immunology
- Treasurer, South Wales Regional Group of British Society of Immunology
- Interactive Immunology SSC
- Immunology Tutorials
- Virology Tutorials
- Supervisor for Pharmacology/Biochemistry BSc laboratory projects
Worldwide, most people are infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV) without realising it. CMV is closely related to herpes simplex, the virus that causes cold sores. Like herpes simplex, CMV infections are for life and must be constantly controlled by our immune system. Disease occurs when this control breaks down.
CMV disease is a major problem in hospitals; primarily due to its capacity to cause life-threatening infections in immunosuppressed patients, particularly bone marrow, kidney and heart transplant recipients plus patients with HIV-AIDS. CMV disease can be manifest in virtually any organs (e.g. lungs, intestine, lung, brain, eye, ear). Moreover, researchers have recently become extremely concerned that low grade CMV infections are commonly associated with the most common and deadly brain tumour (Glioblastoma multiforme). It has been hypothesised that inflammation associated with the CMV infection could be driving such tumours. Critically, CMV is able to cross the placenta to infect the foetus, and does so in ~1% of pregnancies. Congenital infection can induce miscarriage, is a common cause of deafness and in its more severe form causes brain damage. In brutal terms, the cost in patient care alone is $1.86 billion per year in the US. Congenital CMV disease is driving vaccine development. More subtly, CMV infection alters the make up of immune cells of apparently healthy carriers and the implications of this are not known. CMV is a major human pathogen that needs to be researched and merits a much higher public profile.
CMV is the most complex human virus containing nearly 200 genes, of which >124 genes are not required to replicate the virus. Research by us, and others, show many are controlling our immune system. As most of us carry this pathogen throughout life, it is important to find out what these genes are doing. To address this issue we first defined the genome of the clinical agent and then developed systems to screen for CMV gene function: we generated i) a vector library capable of expressing all CMV genes in cells individually and ii) a panel of CMV viruses deleted in large blocks of genes. Combining these resources has enabled us to rapidly map a substantial number of CMV immune evasion functions. However, we would also wanted to know how they worked. Collaborations have been established with researchers in Harvard and Cambridge to exploit state-of the-art proteomic systems to track expression of >700 cell surface and >7000 intracellular proteins during virus infections. These technologies combine to reveal exactly how individual CMV immune evasion genes act.
Natural Killer (NK) cells are white blood cells critical in controlling cytomegalovirus CMV disease. We are currently systematically screening all CMV genes for their capacity to modulate NK cell function. The CMV genome is organised into 'families' of related genes that have arisen by duplication of a common ancient precursor. Our current research aims to characterise the impact of two CMV gene families (the US12 family and the RL11 family) on the immune response to CMV, in particular of NK cells.
I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:
Co-supervisor (33%) for Pragati Sabberwal - Using CRISPR-Cas9 screens to investigate human cytomegalovirus infection
Supervisor (50%) for Hester Nichols - An analysis of human cytomegalovirus gene family function
Co-supervisor (33%) for Chantal Colmont
Co-supervisor (33%) for Tanya Bodenham