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Family of newly discovered viruses, Atkinsviridae, named after Professor John Atkins

24 Mar 2022
Professor John Atkins

To honour the contribution of Professor John Atkins, a family of newly discovered viruses, Atkinsviridae, has been named after Professor John Atkins (1944–present) for his discovery of the lysin protein from Escherichia virus MS2 [Atkins JF. et al., Cell. 1979; 18:247–256] PubMed.

UCC early-career researchers Julie Callanan and Dr Stephen Stockdale, working under the supervision of Professor Colin Hill, Principal Investigator at the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre, APC Microbiome Ireland, recently identified over a thousand new RNA viruses. Their discovery dramatically increased the number of known viruses of this type almost a hundred-fold. Their research into these tiny yet incredibly complex organisms has been published in several of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals.

Their research builds on the work of UCC’s Professor John Atkins, who was one of the pioneering researchers into RNA viruses in the late 1970s. To honour the contribution of Professor John Atkins, one family of newly discovered viruses, Atkinsviridae, was named after Professor John Atkins (1944–present) for his discovery of the lysin protein from Escherichia virus MS2 [Atkins JF. et al., Cell. 1979; 18:247–256] PubMed. This family of viruses encompasses +ssRNA viruses and there are 91 viruses classified within Atkinsviridae.

This great honour adds to the many achievements over a distinguished career. Professor Atkins is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and recipient of its Gold Medal Award (2007) and was the first appointed Director of Life Sciences for Science Foundation Ireland (2002). He is currently a research professor in the School's of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and Microbiology at UCC.

School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Scoil na Bithcheimice agus na Cillbhitheolaíochta

University College Cork

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