Chris Upton


Education B.Sc. Ph.D., London (England)


WWW Site:

General Virus Bioinformatics - databases and tools for analysis of viral genomes.

VBRC-Blog! My BLOG on Virology/Bioinformatics (not very active, see twitter)

Twitter id:

Research Interests

The primary focus of research in my lab is Viral Bioinformatics: The application of computer technology to the management of biological information. Computers are essential for gathering, storing and analyzing the vast amount of biological and genetic information that is being generated by new high-through-put technologies in the biosciences (DNA sequencing; DNA-chip; proteomics). The knowledge we gain from Bioinformatics research can be applied to a variety of research areas, including the process of gene-based drug discovery.

Specifically, my group is developing specialized software to help automate the process of genomic analysis and predicting gene function in large virus genomes (poxviruses, herpesviruses, baculoviruses). These large viruses have 100-200 genes and the function of many of the proteins produced by the viruses remains a mystery. We have used viral sequences to discover novel similarities with human genes and, conversely, known human proteins to predict the function of virus proteins. The software helps us analyze the numerous virus genomes that have recently been completely sequenced and also aids in the annotation of newly sequenced genomes. We have a strong interest in the evolution and structure of viral genomes.

We were part of a collaboration that designed and built the Poxvirus Bioinformatics Resource ( and the Viral Bioinformatics Resource Center ( . This project was funded by the National Institutes of Health USA and supported research by many investigators developing new vaccines and drugs targeted at virus infections.

In another collaborative study (with Dr Delano James at the Centre for Plant Health, Sidney, BC), we are looking at the genomes and evolution of economically important plant viruses including cherry mottle leaf virus, peach mosaic virus and plum pox potyvirus.

Driving the Bioinformatics work, is a longstanding interest in basic poxvirus virology. For many years we have been working on virus virulence mechanisms, and this has led to the identification of the function of several poxvirus proteins.

I also have a research interest in influenza virus and recently published:
Evidence for a novel gene associated with human influenza A viruses.
Monica Clifford, James Twigg and Chris Upton. Virology Journal 2009, 6:198

Selected Publications: (of 86 total- Nov '09)

Return to Faculty Profiles Index