Dr Ingólfur Johannessen

Clinical Lecturer in Virology

Contact details

AddressCentre for Infectious Diseases, Summerhall, Edinburgh EH9 1QH, UK

Dr Johannessen is a clinical lecturer in virology with the Centre for Infectious Diseases, and also has clinical duties at the Specialist Virology Centre of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.  In addition, he teaches medical and science students within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

Research Focus

Dr Johannessen works with oncogenic human herpesviruses. Specifically, his research interests include Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) biology and pathogenesis with particular reference to EBV-associated tumorigenesis. Additionally, he is interested in the development of novel immunotherapy for EBV-associated cancer as a therapeutic model for virus-driven tumours. Since EBV-induced malignant cells express EBV-derived antigens, EBV-associated malignancies lend themselves to immunotherapeutic targeting of such ‘foreign’ antigens. Thus, Dr Johannessen’s research aims to generate translational data to benefit patients as quickly as possible.


Currently, Dr Johannessen is funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive (together with Dr T Haque and Prof DH Crawford) to study the role of T lymphocyte subsets in mediating regression of EBV-induced lymphoproliferative lesions with a view to refining current patient protocols employing adoptive immunotherapy to treat such tumours (see www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/cso). Equally, Dr Johannessen is funded by the European Union (together with Dr SJ Talbot and Prof DH Crawford) to develop new immunotherapy for EBV-associated malignancies using cutting-edge technology to generate novel virus-specific antibody fragments to target cytotoxic T lymphocytes to such tumours. The project forms the University of Edinburgh’s contribution to a multi-centre pre-clinical European Union Framework Programme Six (FP6)study whose focus is the development of immune cell therapies to target cancer (‘Adoptive Engineered T Cell Targeting to Activate Cancer Killing’,‘ATTACK’; see www.attack-cancer.org).The ATTACK project involves a consortium of 14 European research centres as well as 2 partners in Israel.

Recent Publications

Haque T, Johannessen I, Dombagoda D, Sengupta C, Burns DM, Bird P, Hale G, Mieli-Vergani G, Crawford DH. ‘A Mouse Monoclonal Antibody against Epstein-Barr Virus Envelope Glycoprotein 0 Prevents Infection Both In Vitro and In Vivo’. Journal of Infectious Diseases 2006; 194: 584-587.

Ogden CA, Pound JD, Batth BK, Owens S, Johannessen I, Wood K, Gregory CD.‘Enhanced Apoptotic Cell Clearance Capacity And B Cell Survival Factor Production By IL-10-Activated Macrophages: Implications For Burkitt's Lymphoma’. Journal of Immunology 2005; 174: 3015-3023.

Newsome PN, Johannessen I, Boyle S, Dalakas E, McAulay KA, Samuel K, Rae F, Forrester L, Turner ML, Hayes PC, Harrison DJ, Bickmore WA, Plevris JN. ‘Human Cord Blood-Derived Cells Can Differentiate Into Hepatocytes In The Mouse Liver With No Evidence Of Cellular Fusion’. Gastroenterology 2003; 124: 1891-1900.

Johannessen I. ‘Epstein-Barr Virus, Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disease And Animal Models’. Reviews in Medical Microbiology 2002; 13: 129-140.

Johannessen I, Perera SM, Gallagher A, Hopwood PA, Thomas JA, Crawford DH. ‘Expansion In SCID Mice Of Epstein-Barr Virus-Associated Post-Transplantation Lymphoproliferative Disease Biopsy Material’. Journal of General Virology 2002; 83: 173-178.

Johannessen I, Asghar M, Crawford DH. ‘Essential Role For T Cells In Human B Cell Lymphoproliferative Disease Development In SCID Mice’. British Journal of Haematology 2000; 109: 600-610.

For further references,click here for PubMed.