Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Host-Pathogen Interactions and Vaccinology

Camilla is a Lecturer in Virology with research interests in emerging viruses, especially influenza A viruses, and in the antiviral innate immune response in different host species, including pigs and bats.


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


2013- Present: Lecturer in Virology, Royal Veterinary College

(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, University of Cambridge

2004-2006: Veterinary Surgeon, mixed animal practice

Current Research:

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 proteins that block cell entry by numerous pathogenic and zoonotic viruses including influenza virus, lyssaviruses and filoviruses. I have performed 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.

I am also collaborating with a biotech company on a project to apply nucleic acid detection technology to point-of-care differential diagnosis of viral diseases from swab samples.

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 resistance in chickens. I gained extensive experience of working with influenza virus and of applying diverse molecular biology techniques. I further defined the molecular mechanism by which the human MxA protein inhibits influenza virus replication and demonstrated a novel antiviral effect of human MxA upon Newcastle Disease Virus, an important poultry pathogen.


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

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

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.

Camilla teaches topics in Virology, Infectious Diseases and One Health on the BVetMed course, the Graduate Accelerated BVetMed Course, and the BSc in BioVeterinary Science. Camilla is Module Leader for the ‘Introduction to One Health’ Module, a new module running in 2016-7 for BSc./MSc Biological and Bioveterinary Sciences students.

Camilla also teaches Masters students taking the MSc One Health and the MSc in Wild Animal Health/Biology. 

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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