Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Host-Pathogen Interactions and Vaccinology

Camilla is a Senior Lecturer in Virology with expertise in molecular virology and research interests in emerging viruses and comparative innate antiviral immunity in humans and animals that are reservoirs or spill-over hosts for viruses. 

She is also RVC's Course Director for MSc One Health: ecosystems, humans and animals 

Camilla is currently working as a Consultant to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN) on the Peste des petitis ruminants virus (PPRV) Global Eradication Program


Qualifications & Awards:
2018: Soulsby Fellow in One Health
2014: Leverhulme Trust International Academic Fellow
2014: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
2010: PhD in Molecular Virology, University of Cambridge
2004: VetMB, University of Cambridge
2005: MA (Zoology), University of Cambridge
2001: BA(Hons) Veterinary & Medical Science Tripos, 1st Class, University of Cambridge


2020- Present: Senior Lecturer in Virology, Royal Veterinary College

2013-2020: Lecturer in Virology, Royal Veterinary College
(2017: Rinderpest Technical Consultant for Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO);
2014: Leverhulme International Academic Fellow & Visiting Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney)

2010-2012: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Imperial College & University of Cambridge

2007-2012: Undergraduate Supervisor, St Catharines College & Trinity Hall College, Cambridge (in Biochemistry and Veterinary Professional Development)

2006-2009: PhD in Molecular Virology, University of Cambridge

2004-2006: Veterinary Surgeon, mixed animal practice

Camilla’s laboratory currently receives grant funding from The Royal Society, Innovate UK, the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), The Soulsby Foundation and the IUCN Save Our Species Fund.

Current Research Projects:

Peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) ecology and host range:

PPRV is a morbillivirus of small ruminants currently targeted for eradication by FAO. I am investigating PPRV infection in wildlife hosts, funded by The Royal Society, with the aim of advancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which PPRV is emerging in novel species and of informing the PPRV eradication pathway. Find more at I am a Co-Investigator on an Innovate UK-funded grant to develop novel portable molecular diagnostic tests for PPRV and a GCRF Research Translation award to develop validated serological tests for atypical host species. 

Interferon-induced Transmembrane Proteins:
I am interested in how the innate antiviral immune response of different species (in particular bats) influences the emergence and pathogenicity of virus infections. I currently study interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs), host cell proteins that block cell entry by numerous pathogenic and zoonotic viruses including influenza virus, lyssaviruses and filoviruses. I perform laboratory and phylogenetic analyses comparing IFITMs of different species (in particular bats, pigs and humans) to identify the molecular determinants of antiviral restriction by IFITMs. This can potentially enable us to harness IFITMs as prophylactic or therapeutic antivirals against high impact human and animal pathogens.

IUCN-funded project on the impact of anthropogenic disturbance on gut health of critically endangered lemurs:

Using fecal samples collected from free-living Coquerel's sifaka in a forest fragment in N-W Madagascar, we are using Next Generation Metagenomic Sequencing to assess their microbiome relative to environmental factors and anthropogenic activities in order to inform conservation measures.

Postdoctoral Research:
I studied immune modulation by vaccinia virus in the laboratory of Prof Geoffrey Smith FRS with the aim of developing more immunogenic vaccinia-vectored vaccines and novel anti-inflammatories. My work focused on the molecular mechanisms by which vaccinia virus blocks immune signaling pathways and the consequences for virulence and immunogenicity in vivo.

PhD Thesis: Investigation of the Antiviral Properties of Mx proteins
I studied the polymorphism and function of the interferon-inducible chicken Mx gene, with the aim of using variants of this gene to enhance influenza virus resistance in chickens. I gained extensive experience of working with influenza virus and of applying diverse molecular biology techniques.

Haider, N., Yavlinsky, A., Chang, Y. M., Hasan, M. N., Benfield, C., Osman, A. Y., Uddin, M. J., Dar, O., Ntoumi, F., Zumla, A., & Kock, R. 2020 The Global Health Security index and Joint External Evaluation score for health preparedness are not correlated with countries' COVID-19 detection response time and mortality outcome. Epidemiology and infection, 148, e210. doi: 10.1017/S0950268820002046

Dastjerdi A, Benfield C, Everest D, Stidworthy MF, Zell R. 2020. Novel enteric viruses in fatal enteritis of grey squirrels. Journal of General Virology; doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.001431

Ahsan A, Haider N, Kock R, Benfield C. 2020. Possible Drivers of the 2019 Dengue Outbreak in Bangladesh: The Need for a Robust Community-Level Surveillance System. J Med Entomol doi: 10.1093/jme/tjaa150

Fine A, Pruvot M, Benfield C et al. 2020. Eradication of peste des petits ruminants virus and the wildlife-livestock interface. Frontiers in Veterinary Science DOI=10.3389/fvets.2020.00050

Benfield C, MacKenzie F, Ritzefeld M, Mazzon M, Weston S, Tate E, Teo BH, Smith S, Kellam P, Holmes E, Marsh M. 2019. Bat IFITM3 restriction depends on S-palmitoylation and a polymorphic site within the CD225 domain. Life Science Alliance doi: 10.26508/lsa.201900542

Netherton, C, Connell S, Benfield C & Dixon L. 2019. The genetics of life and death: Virus-host interactions underpinning resistance to African swine fever, a viral haemorrhagic disease. Frontiers in GeneticsDOI= 10.3389/fgene.2019.00402

Benfield C. 2016. One vaccinology? Overcoming challenges in vaccine development. Vet Rec. Nov 19;179(20):508-509. doi: 10.1136/vr.i6099

Long JS, Benfield CT, Barclay WS. 2015. One-way trip: Influenza virus' adaptation to gallinaceous poultry may limit its pandemic potential. Bioessays. 37, 204-212.

Benfield C, Smith SE, Wright E, Wash RS, Ferrara F, Temperton NJ & Kellam P. 2015. Bat and pig Interferon-Induced Transmembrane Protein 3 restrict cell entry by influenza virus and lyssaviruses. Journal of General Virology doi: 10.1099/vir.0.000058  

Benfield C. T. O , Ren H., Lucas S., Bahsoun B. & Smith G. L. 2013. Vaccinia Virus protein K7 is a virulence factor that alters the acute immune response to infection. Journal of General Virology. 94, 1647-1657

B.J. Ferguson, C.T.O. Benfield, H. Ren, V.H. Lee, G.L. Frazer, P.Strnadova, R. P. Sumner & G.L. Smith. 2013. Vaccinia virus protein N2 is a nuclear IRF3 inhibitor that promotes virulence. Journal of General Virology 94, 2070-2081.

G.L.Smith, C.T.O. Benfield, C.Maluquer de Motes, M.Mazzon, S.W.J. Ember, B.J. Ferguson & R.P. Sumner. 2013. Vaccinia virus immune evasion: mechanisms, virulence and immunogenicity. Journal of General Virology 94, 2367-2392.

Benfield, C. T. O, Mansur D, McCoy L. E, Ferguson B. J, Bahar M, Oldring A, Grimes J. M, Stuart D. I, Graham S. C. and Smith G. L. 2011. Mapping the IκB kinase beta (IKKß)-binding interface of B14, a vaccinia virus inhibitor of IKKß-mediated activation of nuclear factor kappa B. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 286, 20727-20735

Benfield, C. T. O, Lyall, J. W. & Tiley, L. S. 2010. Wild type and nuclear-localised chicken Mx proteins lack antiviral properties against Newcastle Disease and Thogoto Viruses. PLoS ONE 5(8): e12151.

Benfield, C. T. O, Lyall, J. W., Kochs, G. & Tiley, L. S. 2008. Asparagine 631 variants of the chicken Mx protein do not inhibit influenza replication in primary chicken embryo fibroblasts or in vitro surrogate assays.  Journal of Virology 82: 7533-7539


Camilla is Course Director for the MSc in One Health and is Module Leader for ‘Introduction to Disease Agents for One Health’ for this MSc. She also developed the ‘Introduction to One Health’ module on the BSc/MSc Biological and Bioveterinary Sciences courses, and was Theme Leader for Virology 2013-2018 for BVetMed.

She teaches a range of virology related topics on the BVetMed, Graduate Accelerated BVetMed, BSc BioVeterinary Science and MSc One Health courses at RVC.

Camilla completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Education with Merit in 2014 and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Camilla is a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and worked in first opinion mixed animal and exotics practice (2004-2006).

She has no clinical responsibilities at RVC.

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