Associate Professor Karyn Johnson

Assoc Prof & Dep Head of School

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
karynj@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 51358

Overview

Invertebrate Virology

Insects are commonly infected with viruses. We study the interactions between viruses and their insect or arthropod hosts.

Viruses are obligate parasites, that is, they are completely dependent on the host cell machinery to complete their replication cycle. During infection, viruses commonly cause pathology in the host. For these reasons, viruses and hosts are in a constant evolutionary arms race. The host evolves antiviral mechanisms to prevent virus infection, while the virus adapts to overcome these host responses. Insects are ideal hosts to understand both the host response and the virus mechanisms for controlling the host.

My research group investigates the interactions between viruses and insects, primarily using Drosophila as a model. In this model we can control the genetics of both the host and the virus to tease apart the contribution of each partner to the interaction.

We discovered that a bacterium, Wolbachia, mediated antiviral protection in insects. We have several projects investigating both the mechanisms that protect the insects from virus infection and the impact of this protection on virus transmission.

Research Impacts

Understanding how insects respond to infection with viruses is important to develop strategies to control the spread of virus induced disease.

Qualifications

  • BSc, Australian National University
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University

Publications

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Supervision

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Available Projects

  • Oppoertunities exist in my research group for enthusiastic students with a background in microbiology or genetics. Please contact me to discuss the currently available projects which are likely to include: Wolbachia-mediated antiviral protection, the role of miRNAs in the host-virus interaction, molecular determinants of virus virulence or other projects using the Drosophila model to understand the host-virus interaction.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Bonning, Bryony C. and Johnson, Karyn N. (2010). Dicistroviruses. Insect Virology. (pp. 197-229) edited by Sussan Asgari and Karyn N. Johnson. Norfolk, United Kingdom: Caister Academic Press.

  • Van Hulten, M., Johnson, K.N. and Barnes, A.C. (2009). Development of vaccines and management of viral diseases. Shellfish Safety and Quality. (pp. 359-383) edited by Sandra Shumway and Gary E. Rodrick. United Kingdom: Woodhead Publishing Limited.

  • van Hulten, Marielle C.W., Barnes, Andrew C. and Johnson, Karyn N. (2009). Development of vaccines and management of viral diseases of crustaceans. Shellfish Safety and Quality. (pp. 359-383) Elsevier Ltd. doi: 10.1533/9781845695576.3.359

  • Christian, P. D., Carstens, E. B., Domier, L., Johnson, J., Johnson, K. N., Nakashima, N., Scotti, P. D. and van der Wilk, F. (2005). Dicistroviridae in virus taxonomy. Virus taxonomy : the eighth report of the International Committee on taxonomy viruses. (pp. 678-683) edited by Fauquet, C. M., Mayo, M. A., Maniloff, J., Desselberger, U. and Ball, L. A.. San Diego: Academic Press (Elsevier Press).

  • Christian, P. D., Carstens, E. B., Domier, L., Johnson, J., Johnson, K. N., Nakashima, N., Scotti, P. D. and van der Wilk, F. (2005). Iflavirus in Virus Taxonomy. Virus taxonomy: Classification and nomenclature of viruses : Eighth report of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses. (pp. 678-683) edited by Fauquet, C. M., Mayo, M. A., Maniloff, J., Desselberger, U. and Ball, L. A.. San Diego: Elsevier Academic press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Oppoertunities exist in my research group for enthusiastic students with a background in microbiology or genetics. Please contact me to discuss the currently available projects which are likely to include: Wolbachia-mediated antiviral protection, the role of miRNAs in the host-virus interaction, molecular determinants of virus virulence or other projects using the Drosophila model to understand the host-virus interaction.