Staff Profile

General Profile Information
Staff Name Dr Ultan Power
Job Title Senior Lecturer
Location Medical Biology Centre Block 97 MBC Site
Room Number 04.037
School School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences
Contact Details
Telephone +44 (0)28 9097 2285
Research Keywords
Virus respiratory diseases Virus vaccines Virus immunology Biotechnology R&D

Research Statement

My current research focuses on two principle but interrelated topics, the immunopathogenesis of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the development of Sendai virus (SeV) as a vector.  



RSV is the principle cause of severe lung disease in young infants.  It is also associated with significant morbidity and mortality in the elderly and immunocompromised individuals.  Despite its medical importance there are no vaccines or therapeutics available.  Importantly, RSV infection does not lead to efficient longterm immune memory responses and re-infections are common throughout life.  The mechanisms by which RSV causes disease are unclear, as are the means by which it circumvents the induction of immune memory.  My group is currently developing unique ex-vivo/in-vitro models of RSV infection based on paediatric primary airway epithelial cells, the primary targets of RSV infection.  In the simplest form, we exploit monolayers of primary epithelial cells. We have also developed the capacity to differentiate these cells into pseudo-stratified well-differentiated cultures that look and behave like respiratory epithelium in vivo.  Both models provide important opportunities to study RSV/host interactions in physiologically relevant cultures.  RSV also has the capacity to impede or circumvent innate and adaptive immune responses to infection, including type I interferon signalling and T cell proliferation.  We are currently addressing these issues in appropriate in vitro and ex-vivo models.


SeV is a rodent virus and a close relative of human parainfluenza virus type 1 (hPIV1).  Indeed, it has potential as a classical Jennerian vaccine against hPIV1.  We have developed a reverse genetics system for SeV and have demonstrated the capacity to express heterologous genes from SeV, either as extra-numeral genes or bicistronic constructs in association with SeV genes.  We are exploiting this technology to generate recombinant SeVs expressing either reporter genes or RSV antigens as a means to study SeV and RSV interactions with the immune system and ultimately generate novel vaccines against important respiratory viral pathogens.

Professional Qualifications

I have acted as a grant reviewer for the following funding organisations:



Welcome Trust


US Army Research Office

Science Foundation Ireland

Health Research Board, Ireland

Enterprise Ireland

ANR BiothechS, France

Pôle des Technologies Santé, Montpéllier, France


Membership Of Other Societies / Professional Activities


Since arriving at Queen’s University Belfast in May 2004, research from my group has been presented at the following national and international conferences:

1. 13th International Conference on Negative Strand Viruses, June 17-22, 2006.  Salamanca, Spain (2 abstracts).

2. Society for General Microbiology Spring meeting, March 26-29, 2007. Manchester, England. (1 abstract).

3. European Society for Clinical Virology, May 24-25, 2007. Lyon, France (invitated speaker).

4. 6th International RSV Symposium, Oct. 25-28, 2007.  Marco Island, FL, USA. (2 abstracts).

5. Ulster Immunology Group/British Society for Immunology 50th Anniversary Symposium.  Oct. 29, 2007.  Belfast, Northern Ireland. (1 abstract) (conference organiser).

6. Society for General Microbiology Spring meeting, March 31-April 3, 2008. Edinburgh, Scotland. (1 abstract).

7. Irish Society for Immunology/Ulster Immunology Group Joint meeting, Sept. 15-16, 2008. Dublin, Ireland. (1 abstract).

8. XIV International Congress of Virology, Aug. 10-15, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey (3 abstracts).

9. Society for General Microbiology Spring meeting, March 30-April 2, 2009. Harrowgate, England. (1 abstract).

10. Ulster Immunology Group symposium, June 1-2, 2009.  Belfast, Northern Ireland. (5 abstracts – 1 awarded best poster) (conference organiser; Session Chair).

12. Irish Society for Immunology annual meeting, Sept. 10-11, 2009. Dublin, Ireland (1 abstract; Session Chair; Poster Judge).

13. Society for General Microbiology Spring meeting, March 29-April 1, 2010. Edinburgh, Scotland. (1 abstract).

14. Ulster Immunology Group/Irish Society for Immunology Joint Meeting, Sept. 1-2, 2010.  Belfast, Northern Ireland. (4 abstracts) (conference organiser; Session Chair).

15. EMBO Workshop – Viruses and Innate Immunity.  May 5-7, 2010. Dublin, Ireland. (1 abstract; co-best poster prize);

16. 14th International Conference on Negative Strand Viruses, June 20-25, 2010. Bruges, Belgium (3 abstracts).

17. 7th International RSV Symposium, Dec. 2-5, 2010. Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  (6 abstracts – 2 received special mention).

18. Society for General Microbiology Irish Brance Meeting, April 19-20, 2011. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (2 abstracts).

19. XV International Congress of Virology, Sept. 11-16, 2011. Sapporo, Japan (2 abstracts).

20. Northern Ireland Infection & Immunity Translational Research Group Away Day 2012. February 28, 2012. Belfast, Northern Ireland (3 abstracts, including runner-up poster prize).

21. Society for General Microbiology Spring meeting, March 26-29, 2012. Dublin, Ireland. (2 abstracts).

22. 8th International RSV Symposium, Sept. 26-30, 2012. Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA (2 abstracts).

23. Northern Ireland Infection & Immunity Tranlational Research Group Away Day 2013. March 7th, 2010. Belfast, Northern Ireland (2 abstracts).

24. Society for General Microbiology Spring meeting, March 25-28, 2013. Manchester, England (1 abtract).

25. 15th International Negative Strand Virus meeting, June 16-21, 2013. Granada, Spain (4 abstracts).

26. Irish Society for Immunology annual meeting, Sept. 12-13, 2013, Dublin, Ireland (1 abstract). 

27. 13th International Workshop on Langerhans Cells, October 10-13, 2013. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (1 abstracts).

28. 2014 AAAAI Annual meeting. February 28 – March 4, 2014. San Diago, CA, USA (1 abstract)

29. Society for General Microbiology Spring meeting, April 14-17, 2014. Liverpool, UK. (1 abstract).

30. 8th International RSV Symposium, Nov. 9-13, 2014. Stellenbosch, South Africa (4 abstracts).

31. 16th International Conference on Negative Stand Viruses, June 14-19,  2015. Siena, Italy (1 abstract).

32. 1st International Meeting on Respiratory Pathogens, Sept. 2-4, 2015. Furama RiverFront Singepore (1 abstract).

33. Irish Society for Immunology annual meeting, Sept. 17-18, 2015, Dublin, Ireland (2 abstracts, 1 received 2nd poster prize).

34. NI Infection & Immunity Translational Research Group Away Day, January 29, 2019, Belfast, Northern Ireland (4 abstracts).

35. Microbiology Society Annual conference, March 21-24, 2016, Liverpool, UK. (4 abstracts)

Total abstracts presented = 72

TitleBook TitleYear
Cellular and molecular characteristics of RSV-induced disease in humans. Respiratory Syncytial Virus 2011
Vaccin anti VRS. Infections Virales Respiratoires – tome 2; Bronchopneumopathies virales 2001
Microbiological quality assessment of shellfish. "Hygiene in the Food Industry" 1985
TitleJournal NameYear
In vitro modeling of respiratory syncytial virus infection of pediatric bronchial epithelium, the primary target of infection in vivo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Vol 109 (5040-5050)  DOI   2012
The respiratory syncytial virus g protein conserved domain induces a persistent and protective antibody response in rodents. PLoS ONE Vol 7(3) (e34331-5050)  DOI 2012
Cytopathogenesis of Sendai virus in well-differentiated primary pediatric bronchial epithelial cells. Journal of Virology Vol 84 (11718-11728)  DOI   2010
Report of the 2nd "French Clinical Vaccinology Meeting Jean-Gerard Guillet": immunization and respiratory diseases. Vaccine Vol 28(40) (6551-6555)  DOI 2010
De novo generation of a non-segmented negative strand RNA virus with a bicistronic gene Virus Research Vol 140 (40-48)  DOI   2009
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines - Two steps back for one leap forward Journal of clinical virology : the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology Vol 41 (38-44)  DOI   2008
Respiratory syncytial virus NS1 protein degrades STAT2 by using the elongin-cullin E3 ligase Journal of Virology Vol 81 (3428-3436)  DOI   2007
Neonatal human autologous dendritic cells pulsed with recombinant protein antigen prime the generation of non-polarized CD4 T-cell effectors. International immunology Vol 19(6) (703-712)  DOI 2007
Evaluation of a novel Vi conjugate vaccine in a murine model of salmonellosis. Vaccine Vol 24(20) (4312-4320)  DOI 2006
Protective levels of polysaccharide-specific maternal antibodies may enhance the immune response elicited by pneumococcal conjugates in neonatal and infant mice. Infection and Immunity Vol 73(2) (956-964)  DOI 2005
Immunization of female mice with glycoconjugates protects their offspring against encapsulated bacteria. Infection and Immunity Vol 72(1) (187-195)  2004
Evaluation of BBG2Na in infant macaques: specific immune responses after vaccination and RSV challenge. Vaccine Vol 22(8) (915-922)  DOI 2004
The immunogenicity, protective efficacy and safety of BBG2Na, a subunit respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine candidate, against RSV-B Vaccine Vol 22(2) (168-176)  DOI 2003
Enhanced pulmonary immunopathology following neonatal priming with formalin-inactivated respiratory syncytial virus but not with the BBG2NA vaccine candidate. Vaccine Vol 21(19-20) (2651-2660)  2003
Structure-antigenicity relationship studies of the central conserved region of human respiratory syncytial virus protein G. The journal of peptide research : official journal of the American Peptide Society Vol 60(5) (271-282)  2002
Differential Histopathology and Chemokine Gene Expression in Lung Tissues following Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Challenge of Formalin-Inactivated RSV- or BBG2Na-Immunized Mice Journal of Virology Vol 75(24) (12421-12430)  DOI 2001
Safety and Immunogenicity of a Novel Recombinant Subunit Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccine (BBG2Na) in Healthy Young Adults The Journal of Infectious Diseases Vol 184(11) (1456-1460)  DOI 2001
Safety and immunogenicity of a novel recombinant subunit respiratory syncytial virus vaccine (BBG2Na) in healthy young adults. The Journal of Infectious Diseases Vol 184(11) (1456-1460)  2001
Differential histopathology and chemokine gene expression in lung tissues following respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) challenge of formalin-inactivated RSV- or BBG2Na-immunized mice. Journal of Virology Vol 75(24) (12421-12430)  DOI 2001
Mammalian cell production of a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) candidate vaccine recovered using a product-specific affinity column. Biotechnology and applied biochemistry Vol 34(Pt 1) (25-32)  2001
A novel bipolar mode of attachment to aluminium-containing adjuvants by BBG2Na, a recombinant subunit hRSV vaccine. Vaccine Vol 19(30) (4143-4152)  2001
Identification and characterisation of multiple linear B cell protectopes in the respiratory syncytial virus G protein. Vaccine Vol 19(17-19) (2345-2351)  2001
Influence of administration dose and route on the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of BBG2Na, a recombinant respiratory syncytial virus subunit vaccine candidate. Vaccine Vol 18(24) (2735-2742)  2000
Protection against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) elicited in mice by plasmid DNA immunisation encoding a secreted RSV G protein-derived antigen. FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology Vol 29(4) (247-253)  2000
CD4(+) T-cell-mediated antiviral protection of the upper respiratory tract in BALB/c mice following parenteral immunization with a recombinant respiratory syncytial virus G protein fragment. Journal of Virology Vol 74(8) (3455-3463)  2000
Identification of multiple protective epitopes (protectopes) in the central conserved domain of a prototype human respiratory syncytial virus G protein. Journal of Virology Vol 73(7) (5637-5645)  1999
Absence of lung immunopathology following respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) challenge in mice immunized with a recombinant RSV G protein fragment. Virology Vol 258(1) (128-140)  DOI 1999
An in vitro selected binding protein (affibody) shows conformation-dependent recognition of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) G protein. Immunotechnology : an international journal of immunological engineering Vol 4(3-4) (237-252)  1999
Protective efficacy against respiratory syncytial virus following murine neonatal immunization with BBG2Na vaccine: influence of adjuvants and maternal antibodies. The Journal of Infectious Diseases Vol 179(6) (1326-1333)  1999
Induction of protective immunity in rodents by vaccination with a prokaryotically expressed recombinant fusion protein containing a respiratory syncytial virus G protein fragment. Virology Vol 230(2) (155-166)  DOI 1997
Challenge of BALB/c mice with respiratory syncytial virus does not enhance the Th2 pathway induced after immunization with a recombinant G fusion protein, BBG2NA, in aluminum hydroxide. The Journal of Infectious Diseases Vol 176(3) (560-569)  1997
Protective immunity against respiratory syncytial virus in early life after murine maternal or neonatal vaccination with the recombinant G fusion protein BBG2Na. The Journal of Infectious Diseases Vol 176(4) (884-891)  1997
Hydrophobicity engineering to increase solubility and stability of a recombinant protein from respiratory syncytial virus. European journal of biochemistry / FEBS Vol 230(1) (38-44)  1995
Viral cross-reactivity and antigenic determinants recognized by human parainfluenza virus type 1-specific cytotoxic T-cells. Virology Vol 199(2) (376-383)  DOI 1994
Selective interference with P protein binding to paramyxovirus nucleocapsids. Virus Research Vol 32(3) (365-372)  1994
The P genes of human parainfluenza virus type 1 clinical isolates are polycistronic and microheterogeneous. Virology Vol 189(1) (340-343)  1992
Sequence characterization and expression of the matrix protein gene of human parainfluenza virus type 1. Virology Vol 191(2) (947-952)  1992
Tissue distribution of a coliphage and Escherichia coli in mussels after contamination and depuration. Applied and Environmental Microbiology Vol 56(3) (803-807)  1990
Elimination of coliphages and Escherichia coli from mussels during depuration under varying conditions of temperature, salinity and food availability. Journal of Food Protection Vol 53 (208-212)  1990
Differential depuration of poliovirus, Escherichia coli, and a coliphage by the common mussel, Mytilus edulis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology Vol 55(6) (1386-1390)  1989
The production of microbiologically safe shellfish - lessons from the classification of shellfish at source. Environmental Health Vol 97 (124-130)  1989
Bivalve shellfish and human infectious diseases. Aquaculture Ireland Vol Winter (26-29)  1989