Professor George Lomonossoff

Project Leader Molecules from Nature


George is a virologist who uses molecular biology to understand the assembly and properties of viruses.

He uses a synthetic biology approach to create synthetic virus-like particles.

He has exploited a highly efficient transient expression system to produce pharmacologically active proteins within plants.

George’s research uses nanotechnology to create virus-like particles which can be used for immune recognition and vaccine development, they also make good nanoparticles for drug delivery.

  • Creating synthetic virus-like particles
  • Using virus-like particles for drug delivery and vaccine development
  • Production of proteins using a transient expression system

Research in George’s lab is primarily focused on the exploitation of plant viruses in bio- and nanotechnology technology.

The group has exploited a highly efficient transient expression system developed in their laboratory (the CPMV-HT system) to produce a range of pharmacologically active proteins, including antibodies and virus-like particles, in plants.

In the case of Bluetongue virus (BTV), plant-produced particles have been shown to be able to protect sheep against bluetongue disease. Work in this area has resulted in the filing of several patents.

The group has also been involved in projects that have demonstrated the utility of the CPMV-HT transient expression system for the analysis, manipulation and re-engineering of plant secondary metabolite biosynthetic pathways.

Research on protein expression in plants, including secondary metabolite biosynthesis, resulted in Frank Sainsbury (then a PhD student at the John Innes Centre) and George being named BBSRC Overall Innovators of the Year in 2012.