Dr John N. Barr

Dr John N. Barr


The group of negative-sense RNA viruses include many of the most serious pathogens of both humans and animals. Examples include influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, Ebola virus, the arenaviruses and the bunyaviruses. Each of these viruses cause significant mortality amongst humans, with disease ranging from devastating hemorrhagic fevers, to potentially lethal severe respiratory tract infections. We study many aspects of the molecular and cellular biology of these viruses, ranging from structural biology of viral proteins, mechanisms of gene expression, interactions between viral and cellular proteins, and global effects of viral infection on host cell processess. The purpose of this research is to increase our understanding of how these viruses multiply, which will aid in the design of strategies that selectively interfere with virus growth without adversely affecting the host.

Clearly, many of these viruses are exremely hazardous to work with; CCHFV, Ebola virus and many of the arenaviruses are classified within Hazard Level-4, which requires the highest level of biological containment (CL-4). We are very fortunate to participate in a strong collaboration with Public Health England, which allows the direct study of these viruses in high containment laboratories at the Porton Down facility near Salisbury.

In addition to working with these extremely hazardous viruses, we also make use of so-called 'model viruses', which display characteristics that are extremely similar to their more deadly cousins, yet pose fewer safety concerns. Examples of two model viruses we have chosen to work with are Bunyamwera virus (BUNV) and Hazara virus (HAZV). These are both members of the Bunyavirales order, and represent excellent research tools with which we can safely and rapidly accumulate important information that can be applied to other more lethal bunyaviruses.



  • Programme Leader for Microbiology

Research interests

Negative-sense RNA viruses

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BSc, PhD 1994, Warwick

Student education

Studentship information

See also:

Academic roles:

  • UG Programme Leader - UG Microbiology programmes


  • Member of Graduate School Committee (Faculty representative on Graduate Board Examinations Group)
  • Member of Undergraduate School Taught Student Education Committee
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>