Richard Sloan

Richard Sloan

Title: Dr
Non-clinical Lecturer

Viruses are dependent on host cell metabolism and host cell factors to fulfil their replication cycle. In response cells have evolved multiple mechanisms to directly subvert viral replication. These mechanisms are an ancient form of cell intrinsic immunity. Many of these antiviral factors are interferon inducible and have immune signalling functions, and so are key components of the innate immune system.

Understanding how cellular antiviral factors function and how virus may overcome cellular antiviral inhibition is an area of much importance. This understanding can be harnessed therapeutically to yield novel therapeutic strategies based on the host-virus interaction.

Most antiviral restriction factors have a broad range of function against many unrelated virus types. How the innate immune system exerts such broad-spectrum antagonism is a key research interest of our lab. Understanding this may allow the development of broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics. These would be of value against pandemic virus spread, emerging viral pathogens and neglected viral borne diseases.

Interferon induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs) are of particular interest as IFITMs can antagonise the cellular entry of a number of clinically important viruses including influenza A virus, Ebola virus, Dengue virus, SARs coronavirus, Rift Valley fever virus, West Nile virus, and HIV. IFITMs and other functionally related antiviral factors seem to function by disrupting membrane lipid content. This seems to be an area of particular sensitivity to viruses, and so understanding the mechanistic basis of such antagonisms using retroviruses is a research priority for our group.


How viruses evolve to escape components of the immune system has been the overarching research interest throughout my research career. I gained my PhD in Virology from University College London (UCL) where I studied hepatitis B virus (HBV) immune escape and antiviral resistance with Professor Richard Tedder. I then spent over a year as a postdoc at Glasgow University with Professors Margaret Hosie and Brian Willet studying feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) immunisation, entry and antibody escape. Afterwards I spent five years as a postdoc in the lab of Professor Mark Wainberg at McGill University Montreal, where I studied a range of projects including HIV antiviral restriction factors, antiviral resistance, and HIV entry. I started in my current post as an Early Career Researcher at the Blizard Institute in March 2013 and am now developing my lab.



  • Antagonism of retroviral replication by interferon induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs)
  • Antiviral effects of immune-mediated membrane lipid modification
  • Broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics


Productive entry of HIV-1 during cell-to-cell transmission via dynamin-dependent endocytosis. (2013). Sloan RD, Kuhl BD, Mesplede TM, Donahue DA, Munch J, Wainberg MA. Journal of Virology.

Harnessing the therapeutic potential of host antiviral restriction factors that target HIV. (2013). Sloan RD, Wainberg MA. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 11(1):1-4.

Transcription of preintegrated HIV-1 cDNA modulates expression of cell surface major histocompatibility complex class-I via Nef. Sloan RD, Kuhl BD, Donahue DA, Roland A, Bar-Magen T, Wainberg MA. (2011). Journal of Virology. 85(6):2828-36.

Tetherin restricts direct cell-to-cell infection of HIV-1. Kuhl BD, Sloan RD, Donahue DA, Bar-Magen T, Liang C, Wainberg MA. (2010). Retrovirology. 24;7:115.

Antiviral resistance mutations potentiate hepatitis B virus immune evasion through 
disruption of its surface antigen a determinant. Sloan RD, Ijaz S, Moore PL, Harrison TJ, Teo CG, Tedder RS. (2008). Antivir Ther. 13(3):439-47.

View all Richard Sloan's Research Publications at:


Centre for Immunology and Infectious Disease
Blizard Institute
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Blizard Building
4 Newark Street
E1 2AT

0207 882 2587
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