Professor of Virology, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford
Tutor in Medical Sciences, Brasenose College Oxford
A graduate of the University of Birmingham, William obtained his DPhil in Biochemistry in 1984 at the University of Oxford studying the genetic control of cellular differentiation and respiration in bacteria, during which he cloned the genes for the master transcriptional regulator, gerE, and haem A synthase, CtaA. He was appointed to an academic position at the Dunn School in Oxford on graduation, where he has studied the processes of cellular infection by viruses including HIV-1 and Dengue virus, particularly their adaptations to macrophages. His group were the first to report inhibition of HIV-1 replication by endogenous antisense RNA and by synthetic RNA aptamers, and elucidated the endocytic pathway of HIV-1 infection in macrophages. In order to provide a genetically tractable but physiologically authentic model for human macrophages in vitro, his group developed the pluripotent stem cell model for macrophage differentiation. The Oxford Stem Cell Facility in the James Lab was joined by Dr Cowley in 2007, and with sponsorship from the James Martin foundation and many others has developed an internationally recognized pipeline in hiPS cell generation, mutagenesis and differentiation.
In addition to research, William has served as Head of Department at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Deputy Head of the University’s Medical Sciences Division, and, between 2011 and 2017, was the Oxford University Pro-Vice Chancellor for Planning and Resources. He currently combines the full-time roles of Professor of Virology in the Dunn School and lead Tutor for Medicine at Brasenose College.