Michael Jarvis

Academic profile

Dr Michael Jarvis

Associate Professor in Virology and Immunology
School of Biomedical Sciences (Faculty of Health)

The Global Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Michael's work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

Goal 03: SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-beingGoal 04: SDG 4 - Quality EducationGoal 05: SDG 5 - Gender EqualityGoal 07: SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean EnergyGoal 17: SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

About Michael

The main focus of my laboratory is the innovative application of herpesvirus-based vaccines to target emerging infectious diseases. These studies have involved developing vaccination strategies against simian immunodeficiency virus, Ebola virus, hepatitis C virus, tetanus and prostate cancer. Whilst at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) (2002 to 2012) in the USA, my laboratory was responsible for the design and construction of rhesus cytomegalovirus-based vaccine vectors that showed efficacy against simian immunodeficiency virus and now serve as the foundation for Phase I HIV vaccine studies in humans (2023).  After relocating my laboratory to the University of Plymouth (UoP) in the spring of 2012, I increased my focus on the control of highly pathogenic viruses at both the human and animal nexus, and innovation in herpesvirus vector development remains the central theme of my laboratory.  In 2014, I joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Biosurety Program for highly pathogenic microbes at the High Containment Facility at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Montana. My position on the Biosurety Program has enabled me to expand my work on developing control measures for highly pathogenic viruses. The award in 2018 of two substantial multi-institutional project grants to develop herpesvirus-based vaccines against Lassa virus (a virus that causes haemorrhagic disease in humans) and Streptococcus suis (a bacterial pathogen primarily in pigs that also causes disease in humans) triggered my decision to spin out The Vaccine Group (TVG) from UoP. TVG is a commercial (limited partnership) company with the aim of exploiting herpesvirus-based vaccines against emerging diseases, specifically in animals. In contrast, my research at the university remains focused on the development of transmissible vaccines for use in wildlife. My laboratory at Plymouth is also interested in the development of vaccines and therapeutics for emerging human pathogens specifically for use in humans. Most recently, this led to my being a member of a team developing antivirals for SARS-CoV-2 at RML during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020 to 2021). I am a co-supervisor for two PhD students at UoP in the laboratories of Prof. Upton and Dr Feyer. I have an affiliate academic position at the University of Glasgow, where I am a co-supervisor for a PhD student in the laboratory of Prof. Daniel Streiker.  Although most of my time is now focused on research and enterprise, I still make a practice of aligning my educational practice with innovation and research. Please visit my UoP laboratory website for more information (http://www.thejarvislab.com).  H-index: 37 with 7312 citations (6th May, 2024)


Although most of my time is now focused on research and enterprise, I make a practice of aligning my educational practice with innovation and research. After initiating an undergraduate project investigating the effect of Nutribullet homogenisation on blood glucose levels following consumption of fruit juice in collaboration with Drs Gail Rees and Kathy Redfern (who was a PhD student at the time and is now a lecturer in Human Nutrition), the project ultimately resulted in two publications (see Publications). Since this initial period of work, the project has been further developed by Drs Rees and Redfern.  I engage with undergraduate and MSc students in my academic role at UoP through a small number of specialist lectures on virology and immunology. Given that this involves only a few hours of contact time, my goal has been to engage and encourage students’ enthusiasm for the subject through my practical experience with emerging pathogens at the scientific forefront of this area. Recently, this has been through a first-hand experience of developing antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2 during my 15-month period at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (the NIH high-containment laboratory) during the pandemic. As the Chief Scientific Officer at TVG, I employ multiple individuals who received their undergraduate and post-graduate education at UoP. In addition to providing a local source of employment for UoP biological studies graduates, their training within TVG provides further education in the commercial side of scientific research. I also been utilising the MIT OpenCourseWare seminar series in molecular biology and immunology as a teaching tool for my staff.  In summary, my educational innovation at UoP is marked by a steadfast commitment to aligning student learning experiences with cutting-edge academic and, more recently, commercial research. This unique blend of academic experience and dedication to student-focused innovation underscores my practice in education. As I continue my work at the university, I remain dedicated to enhancing the educational experiences of our students and contributing to the university’s academic excellence. Research Students (current): 2023 – present          Zsofia Tauber. PhD in Biomedical Sciences, UoP, UK (Co-Supervisor) 2022 – present          Sarah Bastyans. PhD in Biomedical Sciences, UoP, UK (Co-Supervisor) 2022 – present          Haris Malik. PhD in Virology, University of Glasgow, College of Medical,                                    Veterinary and Life Sciences, UK (Co-Supervisor) Postdoctoral Fellow (completed): 2012 – 2020              Dr Aisling Murphy, PhD. (Current: Medical Student at Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth, UK) Research Students (completed): 2019 – 2022              Frederick Hansen. NIH Post-Baccalaureate, NIAID, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, MT, USA                                    (Co-Supervisor). (Current: Medical Student at University of New Mexico Medical School, NM, USA) 2017 – 2021              Dr Oliver Rupar, MD, PhD. PhD in Medical Sciences, UoP, UK (Co-Supervisor)                                    (Current: Honorary Clinical Fellow, Univ. Dundee, UK) 2014 – 2020              Dr Hujaz Alqirbi, PhD. PhD in Biomedical Sciences, UoP, UK (Director of Studies, DoS)                                   (Current: Lecturer, Dept. Microbiology, Al-Kindy College of Medicine, Univ. Baghdad, Iraq) 2017 – 2019              Thekla Mauch. ResM in Biomedical Sciences, UoP, UK (DoS)                                   (Current: PhD Student in Medical Sciences, UoP, UK) 2013 – 2017              Dr Shirin HamaSalih, PhD. PhD in Biomedical Sciences, UoP, UK (DoS)                                   (Current: Dept. Clinical Biochemistry, Hawler Medical Univ. Kurdistand, Iraq).

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