Sally Roberts

Colleges, School and Institutes


Sally qualified with a BSc. (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Warwick in 1981.  She gained a D.Phil from the Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics in the University of Oxford in 1987. She joined the Department of Cancer Studies in the University of Birmingham in 1989, where in 2002 she was promoted to Senior Lecturer.

Sally has published over 70 papers in scientific journals as well as reviews and book chapters in the fields of the molecular biology of the papillomavirus life cycle and papillomavirus driven carcinogenesis. She has received major funding from the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK.


DPhil in Molecular Biology, University of Oxford, 1987

BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry, University of Warwick, 1981

Research interests

Sally is interested in virus-host interactions that are important in the pathogenesis of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections; driven by the need to improve the understanding of the interactions between HPV and its human host with a view to identifying new therapeutic targets for the treatment of HPV associated disease.

Central to the programme of work is the use of primary keratinocyte – the host cell of the virus - models of viral replication.  Stratification of these models in organotypic raft culture enables recapitulation of the full replication cycle of the virus.  Manipulation of the models in long-term culture reflects virus and host changes observed in the progression of HPV infections to cancer and thus allows investigation of virus-host interactions that contribute to the development of malignancy.  Sally has modelled the virus life cycle in keratinocytes isolated from both the anogenital tract and the oropharynx, to establish a repertoire of physiological models of HPV infection and disease. Sally has used these models to understand HPV early protein function in the virus life cycle, including the role of HPV E6 oncoprotein targeting a small group of cellular PDZ domain polarity proteins. She is also developing longitudinal tonsil models to understand HPV pathogenesis at this body site.

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford

    Studies on Genetically Engineered Antibodies

    1 Oct 1983 - 30 Sep 1986

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Dr Roberts is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the molecular biology of the human papillomavirus life cycle and the role of human papillomavirus in the pathogenesis of anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers: host-virus interactions that contribute to malignancy.


Sustainable Development Goals