Mark Wills

Dr Mark Wills

Bsc PhD MA

Mark is a Director of Research based at the Department of Medicine and Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology & Infectious Disease, where his research group focus is understanding the immune response to and immune evasion by persistent viruses.

Mark Wills

Mark studied Microbiology at the University of Surrey where he also carried out his PhD in Virology. Following a first postdoctoral position at the University of Southampton studying the immune response to cancer, he moved to the University of Cambridge in 1993 to the Department of Medicine. There he started his work on viral immunology, becoming a principal investigator.

Mark has an active research group of PhD students and postdocs focused on understanding the immune response to persistent viruses. His group has also worked on T cells responses to SARS-CoV-2 infections and vaccination, most recently he has been working on immune dysregulation in Long COVID. Mark is also the Department's Biological Safety Officer and chairs the University's Biological Safety sub-committee. He is an Editor Board member of the Journal of General Virology. He is a member of the Microbiology Society and the British Society of Immunology.




Recognitions & achievements

  • Chair of the University Biological Safety sub-committee and CL3 working group
  • Editorial Board Journal of General Virology
  • External examiner MSc Medical Microbiology University of Surrey

Mark's laboratory has a long-standing interest in the generation and maintenance of Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) specific CD4/CD8 T-cell and natural killer cells, and the role these effector cells have in the control of HCMV during long-term latent viral carriage and reactivation. Of particular interest are the mechanisms by which latent HCMV evades the immune system and is able to undergo full lytic virus reactivation but is nevertheless prevented from causing serious disease in immunocompetent individuals. Of particular interest is the control of HCMV in immunosuppressed transplant patients where HCMV primary infection and reactivation can cause serious disease. He is ultimately interested in approaches to eliminating latent HCMV carriage in important clinical settings. Marks group is also interested in the ageing immune system and the consequences this might have on the control of persistent/latent virus infections. Mark has had collaborative projects working on HIV latency and the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccines as well as immune dysfunction in Long COVID. Mark is funded by grants from the Medical Research Council, Welcome Trust and an industrial collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.