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The lab


Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar

maitreyi.shivkumar (at) | @Lambananas (Why Lambananas?)

I am a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology in the Leicester School of Pharmacy. My research interests lie in understanding virus-host interactions and ways to manipulate them to prevent host entry or transmission of viruses. I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge on host entry and dissemination of herpesviruses in mouse models. Following this, I was a post-doc in the Jolly Lab at University College London studying HIV-1 spread between T cells, before joining De Montfort University in 2019.


Gemma Cooper  |  @its_me_gemma_c

I am a PhD student in the lab and my research is focused on developing broad-spectrum antivirals from natural extracts. I am specifically looking at how these can be used against coronaviruses. I completed my MSCi at the University of Nottingham, researching host-pathogen relationships in parasite species. During my time working on early drug development projects and using viral vectors to deliver gene therapies, I became really interested in virus-host interactions.  My general interests are molecular biology and virology and how these can lead to therapeutics. Outside of the lab, I love to bake and bring goodies to our lab meetings.

Brandon Moulds

Brandon Moulds

I am a part-time PhD student in the lab, investigating the disinfection of norovirus and the mechanisms of resistance against common disinfectants using murine norovirus as a surrogate. My project will also involve attempting to culture human norovirus in vitro using enteroids as the virus has proven difficult to cultivate using conventional cell culture models. I completed my BSc in Biomedical Science from De Montfort University in 2017, and at the start of 2018 I started working at De Montfort University as a technician, later becoming Senior Technician of the Mass Spectrometry facilities. My personal interests involve badminton, video games, heavy metal and anime!


Abdelrhman Moustafa

I am a PhD student in the lab, working within the Peptide Bio-Nanomaterials and Infectious Disease Research Groups. I received my Bachelors with Honours in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Alexandria University, Egypt. I then completed a M.Sc. degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Industrial Pharmacy) from the same University. Currently, my PhD project aims at developing peptide based hydrogel for nasal delivery of viral vaccines.

Dolgormaa Janchivlamdan

Dolgormaa Janchivlamdan

I am a PhD student within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, supervised by Dr Harprit Singh and Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar. I graduated from The Health Sciences University of Mongolia in the field of medical science and completed my Master`s degree in the field of molecular biology. My research project is about the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on endothelial and vascular function, exploring the impact on the angiopoietin/Tie pathway.

Divine Derefaka

Divine Derefaka

I am a third-year Biomedical Science student, currently completing a DMU Frontrunner internship under the supervision of Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar. I am drawn to immunology, and I am gaining extensive experience in research and hands-on lab skills during my internship. I believe this will ease my transition into post-graduate studies and my career as a scientist.

Toyah Burgess

Toyah Burgess

I am a third-year Medical Science student completing a DMU Frontrunners internship scheme in the lab this year. Whilst studying for my degree I have become interested in the body’s immune response to diseases. This Frontrunners internship allows me to experience research in this area by helping develop antivirals against viruses. In the future, I wish to enter a career in this field, researching how climate change affects the spread of these infectious diseases.


Joseph Festa  |  @festafitness

I am a part-time Research Assistant in the lab, working on developing and optimising systems to measure coronavirus and HIV infections, with the aim to investigate kinase-targeting compounds for their antiviral activity. Currently, I am a final-year PhD student in Molecular Biology and Nutrition, investigating the effect of elderberry cyanidin-3-glucoside and phenolic metabolites on markers of endothelial dysfunction and initial stages of atherosclerosis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked at the largest COVID-19 testing lab in the UK, and published reviews on the association of COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, which developed my interest in virology. My interests lie with understanding how COVID-19 affects vascular health. Outside the lab I enjoy keeping fit by going to the gym and running, eating, and playing Pokemon.



Bethanie Dean

Bethanie completed her Masters by Research (MRes) in 2023, supervised by Dr Tim Snape and Dr Maitreyi Shivkumar. Her project aimed to synthesise xanthone derivatives for in vitro assessment of their antiviral activity against human coronaviruses. Bethanie is currently a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick. 

Research Assistants

Dr Pat Adkin (2020-21)

Jenish Patel (2021)

Usha Shantharamu (2021-22)

Joseph Festa (2021-22)

Toyah Burgess (DMU Frontrunner, 2022-23)

Summer Students

Shaylin Patel (Graduate Champion, 2021)

Usamah Vania (Gunn & Carter summer student, 2022)

Nicole Sibanda (Applied Microbiology International summer student, 2023)

Project Students

Aimée Jeluk (PCS, 2019-20)

Jenish Patel (M.Sc. Pharm Biotech, 2020-21)

Usha Shantharamu (M.Sc. Pharm Biotech, 2020-21)

Rawdha Benziane (M.Sc. Pharm Biotech, 2021-22)

Ann Maria Varghese (M.Sc. Pharm Biotech, 2021-22)

Usman Arshad (M.Pharm., 2022-23)

Kush Thakur (M.Pharm., 2022-23)

Nutthaya Juthamart (M.Sc. Pharm Biotech, 2022-23)

Ammaarah Khalifa (M.Sc. Pharm Biotech, 2022-23)

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