Emeritus Scientist - John Skehel

Sir John James Skehel, FRS FMedSci, is an English virologist, born 27 February 1941 in Blackburn, England. He was Director of the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) at Mill Hill from 1987 to 2006.



John Skehel is a graduate of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (1962) and gained his PhD from the University of Manchester (1966). He did research at the University of Aberdeen (1965-1968) and was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation fellow at Duke University and at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) Mill Hill (1968-1971). He was an MRC staff scientist at NIMR from 1971 to 2006, Director of the WHO World Influenza Centre from 1975 to 1993, Head of Infections and Immunity from 1985 to 2006 and Director of the NIMR from 1987 to 2006.

His studies and discoveries in the mechanisms by which influenza virus binds to the host cell, and in virus-cell membrane fusion have had a fundamental impact on the field.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1984, became a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998 and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA in 2014. He was awarded the Wilhelm Feldberg Prize in 1986, the Robert Koch Prize in 1987, the Louis Jeantet Prix de Medecin in 1988, the ICN International Prize in Virology in 1992 and knighted in 1996. He was awarded the Royal Medal in 2003 for "his pioneering research into virology" and in 2007 he received the Grand Prix de Louis D Foundation of the Institute de France.

Selected publications

Collins PJ, Vachieri SG, Haire LF, Ogrodowicz RW, Martin SR, Walker PA, Xiong X, Gamblin SJ, Skehel JJ. Recent evolution of equine influenza and the origin of canine influenza. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 29;111(30):11175-80. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1406606111. Epub 2014 Jul 14.

Xiong X, Xiao H, Martin SR, Coombs PJ, Liu J, Collins PJ, Vachieri SG, Walker PA, Lin YP, McCauley JW, Gamblin SJ, Skehel JJ. Enhanced human receptor bindingby H5 haemagglutinins. Virology. 2014 May;456-457:179-87. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2014.03.008. Epub 2014 Apr 12.

Vachieri SG, Xiong X, Collins PJ, Walker PA, Martin SR, Haire LF, Zhang Y, McCauley JW, Gamblin SJ, Skehel JJ. Receptor binding by H10 influenza viruses. Nature. 2014 Jul 24;511(7510):475-7. doi: 10.1038/nature13443.

Xiong X, Tuzikov A, Coombs PJ, Martin SR, Walker PA, Gamblin SJ, Bovin N, Skehel JJ. Recognition of sulphated and fucosylated receptor sialosides by A/Vietnam/1194/2004 (H5N1) influenza virus. Virus Res. 2013 Dec 5;178(1):12-4. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2013.08.007. Epub 2013 Sep 10.

Xiong X, Martin SR, Haire LF, Wharton SA, Daniels RS, Bennett MS, McCauley JW, Collins PJ, Walker PA, Skehel JJ, Gamblin SJ. Receptor binding by an H7N9 influenza virus from humans. Nature. 2013 Jul 25;499(7459):496-9. doi: 10.1038/nature12372.

Xiong X, Coombs PJ, Martin SR, Liu J, Xiao H, McCauley JW, Locher K, Walker PA, Collins PJ, Kawaoka Y, Skehel JJ, Gamblin SJ. Receptor binding by a ferret-transmissible H5 avian influenza virus. Nature. 2013 May 16;497(7449):392-6. doi: 10.1038/nature12144. Epub 2013 Apr 24.

Corti D, Voss J, Gamblin SJ, Codoni G, Macagno A, Jarrossay D, Vachieri SG, Pinna Minola A, Vanzetta F, Silacci C, Fernandez-Rodriguez BM, Agatic G, Bianchi S, Giacchetto-Sasselli I Calder L, Sallusto F, Collins P, Haire LF, Temperton N, Langedijk JP, Skehel JJ, Lanzavecchia A. A neutralizing antibody selected from plasma cells that binds to group 1 and group 2 influenza A hemagglutinins.Science. 2011 Aug 12;333(6044):850-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1205669. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

Gamblin SJ, Skehel JJ. Influenza hemagglutinin and neuraminidase membrane glycoproteins. J Biol Chem. 2010 Sep 10;285(37):28403-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.R110.129809. Epub 2010 Jun 10. Review. PubMed PMID: 20538598.

Liu J, Stevens DJ, Haire LF, Walker PA, Coombs PJ, Russell RJ, Gamblin SJ, Skehel JJ. Structures of receptor complexes formed by hemagglutinins from the Asian Influenza pandemic of 1957. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Oct 6;106(40):17175-80. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0906849106. Epub 2009 Sep 28.

Russell RJ, Kerry PS, Stevens DJ, Steinhauer DA, Martin SR, Gamblin SJ, Skehel JJ. Structure of influenza hemagglutinin in complex with an inhibitor of membrane fusion.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Nov 18;105(46):17736-41. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0807142105. Epub 2008 Nov 12.

John Skehel