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


I have acted as a peer reviewer for the following academic journals:

American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology

Archives in Virology

Clinical and Experimental Immunology

Current Medicinal Chemistry

Disease Markers

Drug Profiles

European Journal of Immunology

Expert Opinion in Pharmacotherapy

Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses

Journal of Clinical Virology

Journal of General Virology

Journal of Immunology

Journal of Medical Microbiology

Microbes and Infections

Nature Medicine


PLoS Pathogens



I organised the following conferences/symposia:

"Lost in Translation".  A meeting to discuss the state-of-the-art in relation to respiratory disease research in Northern Ireland.  Ballygally, Co. Antirm.  February 24-25, 2006.  Co-organised with Dr. Joe Kidney. 

"Vaccines - past, present and future."  A meeting organised by the Ulster Immunology group as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the British Society for Immunology.  Queen's University Belfast.  November 29, 2007.  (Sponsorship raised = £1,000)

"Inflammation - from cell to clinic."  A conference organised by the Ulster Immunology Group in association with the Brisith Society for Immunology, Centre for Infection & Immunity, QUB, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland R&D Office and the Infectious Diseases Recognised Research Group.  Queen's University Belfast, June 8-9, 2009.  (Sponsorship raised = £14,811)

"Dangerous Liasons - pathogens and the immune system."  A conference organised by the Ulster Immunology Group in association with the Brisith Society for Immunology and the Irish Society for Immunology.  Queen's University Belfast, September 2-3, 2010.  (Sponsorship raised = £18,150)

Inaugural Young Immunologists Forum.  A forum that I initiated and am organising through the British Society for Immunology with a view to providing young immunologists (Junior Faculty) in the UK and Ireland a major networking opportunity. Great Missenden Abbey, Buckinghamshire.  April 13-15, 2012.


I served as External examiner for PhD or MD degrees at the following institutions:


1.  Universite de Bourgogne,  France.  (1998).  I also served as "rapporteur" for this thesis.

2.  University of London, Imperial College, London.  (2006).

3.  University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. (2007).

4.  University of Sheffield. (2008).

5.  University of Liverpool.  (2009).

6.  University of Liverpool.  (2010).

Membership Of Other Societies / Professional Activities

I was an invited speaker or session chair for the following national/international conferences/symposia/workshops:

1.  2nd annual meeting on J2000.  Saint-Julien-en-Genevois,  France.  1994. Title:  Protective efficacy in rodents of prokaryotically-expressed recombinant fusion proteins containing native or mutant RSV-A G protein fragments.

2.  2nd European Laboratories Without Walls (ELWW) meeting on "Mucosal Immunity",  St. Julien en Genevois, France.  1995.  Title: Protective efficacy of BBG2Na,  a recombinant fusion protein containing a respiratory syctial virus G protein fragment,  in rodent models.

3.  3rd European Laboratories Without Walls (ELWW) meeting on "Basic Immunology for Vaccinology",  Titisee,  Germany.  1996.  Title: A prokaryotically-expressed RSV-A G protein subunit vaccine - preclinical evaluation.

4.  Third ELWW Biotechnology meeting,  on "Vaccine delivery systems",  Madrid,  Spain. 1996.  Title: Protective efficacy of BBG2Na,  a prokaryotically-expressed fusion protein containing an RSV-G protein fragment.

5.  "Prevention of RSV infections",  organized by Erasmus Medical Centre,  Rotterdam,  Holland (Hosts, Dr. Henriëtte A. Moll,  Prof. dr. Ronald de Groot,  Prof. dr. Albert D.M.E. Osterhaus),  in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen,  Rotterdam.  January 26,  1999. Title :  "Overview of RSV vaccines".

6.  Seminaire de virology clinique: "Les virus respiratoires". Organised by Prof. François Freymuth, Service de Virologie du CHU de Caen in Hotel Mercure de Caen.  Octobre 5-6, 2000. Title: "Les vaccines anti VRS et la physiopathologie de l'infection."

7.  Vaccinologie 2001. Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. Title: Développement d'un vaccin anti-RSV.

8.  RSV Workshop on the application of modern/non invasive techniques to understanding the pathogenesis of RSV infection in humans and to the development and evaluation of an effective RSV vaccine.  Organized by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Vaccine Program Office.  June 24-25, 2002, Bethesda, MD, USA.

9.  V International symposium on respiratory viral infections.  December 5-8, 2002, Casa de Campo, La Romana, Dominican Republic.  Title : Recombinant hybrid RSV vaccine.

10.  Session Chair.  RSV Symposium 2005, Keble College, Oxford.  September 15-18, 2005.

11.  European Society for Clinical Virology, Lyon, France.  May 24-25, 2007.  Special conference on respiratory viruses.  Invited speaker.  Title Respiratory syncytial virus vaccines - two steps back for one leap forward.

12.  2eme Journée Jean-Gérard Guillet de vaccinologie Clinique, Hôpital Cochin, Paris. April 20, 2009.  Title: L'énigme des vaccins anti-VRS - stratégies pour une réussite.

13.  Session Chair (Infection & Evasion Strategies).  Irish Society for Immunology Annual meeting 2009. Institute of Molecular Medicine, St. James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.



I was an invited seminer speaker at the following institutions:

1.  Department of Genetics and Microbiology (Host, Dr. J. Curran),  Centre Medical Universitaire,  Geneva, Switzerland.  February 20, 1998.  Title:  BBG2Na,  a recombinant subunit vaccine candidate against respiratory syncytial virus.

2.  Institute of Virology (Host, Prof. A.D.M.E. Osterhaus),  Erasmus University,  Rotterdam,  Holland,  June 27, 1999.  Title : "Pre-clinical research on a RSV vaccine,  BBG2Na".

3.  Children's Research Centre and Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research (Host, Prof. D.J. Reen), University College Dublin, Our Lady's Hospital For Sick Children, Dublin, Ireland.  January 16,  2001.  Title: "BBG2Na,  a promising novel recombinant subunit vaccine against Respiratory Syncytial virus."

4.  Dépt. d'Immunologie (Host, Dr. C. Leclerc), Institut Pasteur, Paris,  France.  February 9, 2001.  Title: Preclinical and clinical evaluation of BBG2Na,  a promising Respiratory Syncytial Virus vaccine candidate.

5.  Department of Virology and Molecular Biology (Host, Dr. A. Portner), St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.  June 21, 2001.

6.  Department of Microbiology, University College Cork, Ireland.  November 6, 2008.  Title: RSV - massacre of the innocents.

7.  School of Infection & Immunity Seminar, University of Liverpool. June 23, 2009.  Title:  Respiratory syncytial virus ex-vivo: novel models of infection.

Since commencing at QUB, my research was presented at the following national/international conferences/symposia:

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).

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

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

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

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

15.  14th International Conference on Negative Strand Viruses, June 20-25, 2010. Bruges, Belgium (3 abstracts).

16.  7th International RSV Symposium, Dec. 2-5, 2010. Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  (6 abstracts - 2 received special mention).

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

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

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