David graduated in Chemistry and Computer Science from Kings College, University of London followed by a Masters degree in Modelling of Molecular and Biological Processes from the Department. of Crystallography, Birkbeck College, University of London. In 1995, he recieved his PhD in Biophysics from the Institute of Cancer Research, University of London. This resulted in the prostate cancer drug Zytiga (Abiraterone acetate). He joined the Biochemistry department, University of Cambridge in 1997 developing next generation comparative protein modelling software. In 2007, he moved to the Zoology department to apply computational biology and bioinformatic tools to understand the evolution of the influenza virus. He has been Section Editor (Computational analysis) for BMC Structural Biology since 2015.
Predicting the evolution of influenza viruses – vaccine development and pandemic risk
Understanding the genetic basis of antigenic drift of the influenza virus and the molecular determinants of pandemic threat emerging from avian reservoirs have been two major goals in influenza virology for decades. We have applied bioinformatic and other computational approaches to address these problems. In collaboration with 'wet-lab' viroglists, we have shown that the number of potential drift variants is limited and consequently the antigenic evolution of influenza viruses are substantially more predictable than previously thought. I will provide an overview of recent work and how this knowledge can lead to improved vaccine choice, leading to increased vaccine efficacy.