Clive McKimmie

Dr Clive McKimmie


I am a University Academic Fellow who has recently established a new interdisciplinary team at the University of Leeds to study virus host interactions. We have a particular interest in viruses spread by mosquitoes, known as arboviruses. These viruses represent an important class of emerging infections that constitute an increasing threat to human and animal health. We are an enthusiastic, dedicated team of researchers who aim to better understand the mechanisms by which these viruses causes disease, and how our immune systems defend us against these infections. We are an inclusive, interdisciplinary team who value collaboration and would welcome any interest or queries that you might have in our work.


Daniella Lefteri


Following the completion of my MSc in Virology at Imperial College London, and after spending a year working for QIAGEN, I came to Leeds to join the VHIT team.  I am currently doing a PhD which focuses on how mosquito saliva enhances the infection of mosquito-borne viruses.  Apart from loving science I am a huge bookworm with a special love for anything ever written by J.R.R Tolkien as well as being addicted to World of Warcraft from time to time.

Associate members (VHIT+)


Dr Marieke Pingen


My main research interest is viral transmission and dissemination. After finishing my PhD on transmission and evolution of drug resistant HIV, I moved to the University of Glasgow to explore the role of the mammalian immune system on arboviral transmission and dissemination with Clive. Together we moved to the University of Leeds. I am currently focussing on the origin of viraemia, which is essential for viral transmission. In addition to science, I like films, hiking, whisky, baking and board games, 

Steven Bryden


After spending my final year undergraduate project and 12 week BBSRC mini project with VHIT. I returned in 2015 to start my BBSRC funded PhD project to investigate the early innate immune events of arbovirus infection at the inoculation site - a better understanding of which, could help in the development of new therapeutic strategies for these viruses! Having finished my PhD in 2019, I moved to the MRC Centre for Virus Research to study tick borne arboviruses. Coffee addict, leading expert in complaining and co-convenor of the VHIT Nicolas Cage fanclub!

Students past and present


Jack Major:

During my Undergraduate Immunology degree in Glasgow, I completed my Senior Honours Research Project in Clive’s lab. We investigated possible therapeutic options against arbovirus infection, by boosting early immune responses to decrease viral spread. This was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun working with Clive and Marieke! I thoroughly enjoyed analysing immune responses to viral infections, and so hope to do PhD in a similar area of research. To gain further lab experience and learn more about working with infectious diseases, I began working as a research technician in Glasgow’s Centre for Molecular Parasitology, where I am currently studying the biology of the human pathogen, Toxoplasma Gondii. Update: Jack has started a PhD at the Francis Crick Institute in London. 




Charis Murdoch:

During my Undergraduate Medical degree at the University of Glasgow, I completed my Intercalated Degree research project with Clive and Marieke. We investigated the effect of Semliki Forest Virus on dendritic cells - in particular whether the virus is able to infect the DCs themselves and the effect this has on them. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the Virus-Host interactions Team. Having had no previous research experience I found the team very supportive, learnt a lot of new skills and gained an insight into the world of research and academic medicine. Currently I am completing my Medical degree but hope to be involved in academic medicine and research throughout my career.

Janne Miltenburg:

Hi there! At the end of my bachelor that takes place in the Netherlands, I wanted to do my internship abroad, so that is one of the reasons that I joined VHIT in Leeds. With the help of Marieke, Clive and Steven, I investigate the effects of different components of a cream on different cell types after virus infection. I have already learned a lot about this project and about doing research in general. Also, I already practiced some techniques such as two different RNA extractions, tissue culture, qPCR and plaque assays. When I joined, I immediately felt very welcome in the team. And as you can see on this website, it is important to have fun whilst doing science! Update: Janne is currently finishing her bachelor programme back in the Netherlands. 




Christie Herd:

I did a Masters research project with Clive Mckimmie working on Semliki Forest Virus (SFV), a mosquito-borne arbovirus. We investigated the differences in viral replication rate and innate immune responses of SFV derived from an insect-cell or mammalin-cell derived source. I had never worked with viruses before but through this project I realised how many interesting techniques can be used to investigate how they infect their host. We infected mice, dissected various tissues including the draining lymph node and extracted RNA for qRT-PCR, showing that insect-derived SFV did indeed have a more rapid replication rate than mammalian-derived virus. We also used Flow Cytometry to show that the insect and mammalian-derived virus infected different types of dendritic cells; it was nice to get pretty pictures for my report! The project with Clive really influenced where I am now; I'm currently in the second year of my PhD at Lancaster University where I work on mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria. Wolbachia has shown the ability to inhibit transmission of some arboviruses in mosquitoes, and I am investigating the role of Reactive Oxygen Species in this process. Following my PhD I would like to continue on to do a Post-Doc or transfer into a Biotech company, I'm unsure of which yet but I've learnt a lot of techniques that can be applicable to either career paths.


Konstantinos Katsoulis-Dimitriou:

After finishing my undergraduate degree in molecular biology and biotechnology at the University of Crete, I did my masters in Infections and Immunology at the University of Glasgow. That‘s where I had the pleasure of working with the Virus-Host interactions Team in a project about the effect of arboviral infection in dendritic cells. During this time Clive was always helpful and easy to approach and together with Marieke, who was just starting, gave me very good suggestions on how to improve my final graded presentation. Also, Clive was very supportive when I was searching for a PhD, so I would definitely recommend this group to a master student. Now, I am working towards my PhD thesis, about the role of the NF-κB regulator IκBNS  in effector T cells, at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Germany.


Hayley Patterson:

I worked in the McKimmie group as part of my Undergraduate Immunology degree at the University of Glasgow, investigating the impact of Semliki Forest Virus infection on dendritic cell function and their migration to draining lymph nodes. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Clive and being part of the McKimmie group for my Senior Honours laboratory project, and learned a range of techniques including flow cytometry and qRT-PCR - techniques which I still use to this day! I graduated with a First Class M.Sci Immunology degree in Summer 2013 and am now pursuing a PhD on the Wellcome Trust PhD training programme at Imperial College London. Keeping with the infection-immunology theme, I am now interested in age-related changes to the immune response in Respiratory Syncytial Virus infection.