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Cambridge Immunology Network



Our research focus is to understand the fundamental processes that govern the evolution of pathogens that change over time, with most of our work on influenza viruses, and to use this understanding to potentially predict their evolution.  This research is highly interdisciplinary and involves mathematical, computational, theoretical, and experimental work in evolution, virology, immunology, and epidemiology, to understand and quantify the selection pressures on the viruses and the constraints on the evolution.  We work closely with experimental virologists, immunologists and clinicians.  The work has significant translational impact including an integral role in the World Health Organization (WHO) influenza vaccine strain selection process since 2004, and new generation seasonal and pandemic influenza virus vaccines gearing up for phase II clinical trails.


Key publications: 

Li C, Hatta M, Burke DF, et al. Selection of antigenically advanced variants of seasonal influenza viruses. Nat Microbiol. 2016;1(6):16058. doi:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.58

Fonville JM, Wilks SH, James SL, et al. Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination. Science. 2014;346(6212):996-1000. doi:10.1126/science.1256427 

Koel BF, Burke DF, Bestebroer TM, et al. Substitutions Near the Receptor Binding Site Determine Major Antigenic Change During Influenza Virus Evolution. Science. 2013;342(6161):976-979. doi:10.1126/science.1244730

Russell CA, Fonville JM, Brown AEX, et al. The Potential for Respiratory Droplet-Transmissible A/H5N1 Influenza Virus to Evolve in a Mammalian Host. Science. 2012;336(6088):1541-1547. doi:10.1126/science.1222526

Herfst S, Schrauwen EJA, Linster M, et al. Airborne Transmission of Influenza A/H5N1 Virus Between Ferrets. Science. 2012;336(6088):1534-1541. doi:10.1126/science.1213362

Garten RJ, Davis CT, Russell CA, et al. Antigenic and Genetic Characteristics of Swine-Origin 2009 A(H1N1) Influenza Viruses Circulating in Humans. Science. 2009;325(5937):197-201. doi:10.1126/science.1176225 

Park AW, Daly JM, Lewis NS, Smith DJ, Wood JLN, Grenfell BT. Quantifying the Impact of Immune Escape on Transmission Dynamics of Influenza. Science. 2009;326(5953):726-728. doi:10.1126/science.1175980

Russell CA, Jones TC, Barr IG, et al. The Global Circulation of Seasonal Influenza A (H3N2) Viruses. Science. 2008;320(5874):340-346. doi:10.1126/science.1154137 

Smith DJ. Predictability and Preparedness in Influenza Control. Science. 2006;312(5772):392-394. doi:10.1126/science.1122665

Smith DJ, Lapedes AS, de Jong JC, et al. Mapping the Antigenic and Genetic Evolution of Influenza Virus. Science. 2004;305(5682):371-376. doi:10.1126/science.1097211

Professor Derek  Smith
Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy


Departments and institutes: