Dr Barbara Blacklaws

BSc (Aberdeen), PhD (Cantab), PGCertTLHE (Cantab)

Fellow (D), Vice-Principal, Director of Studies, Assistant Tutor, Postgraduate Mentor

Picture of Barbara Blacklaws

College Roles

  • Fellow (D)
  • Vice-Principal
  • Director of Studies in Natural Sciences Biological (Part 1A)
  • Assistant Tutor (Undergraduates)
  • Postgraduate Mentor
  • Senior Treasurer, JCR

University Roles

  • University Associate Professor in Molecular Virology in Department of Veterinary Medicine
  • Departmental Safety Officer
  • Departmental Radiation Protection Supervisor
  • Chair of University Safety-Sub-Committee for Ionising and Non-Ionising Radiations
  • Member of MRC-DTP management committee


Telephone: 01223 337609

Email: bab2@cam.ac.uk

Picture of Barbara Blacklaws


Dr Barbara Blacklaws’ research focuses on immune responses to, and the pathogenesis of, persistent virus infections.

She received her BSc (Hon) in Biochemistry from University of Aberdeen, then did a PhD in Virology at University of Cambridge.  Dr Blacklaws undertook post-doctoral positions at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh before coming to University of Cambridge as a University Fellow, Lecturer, and now Associate Professor.

She is based in the Department of Veterinary Medicine.

Research Interests

Dr Barbara Blacklaws explains her research:

“I have worked with herpes simplex virus-1 and visna maedi virus in the past, and we now study gastroenteritis viruses and their role in intestinal immunity using murine norovirus. Integral to this is the role of the gastrointestinal microbial communities in affecting the immune status of the gut and other health factors of the host. New sequencing technology allows us to interrogate these communities in many different species and body compartments.

“I am now also researching differences in the faecal microbiome of a wildlife species, to determine if this could be used as a non-invasive way to determine the health of populations, or the prevalence of pathogens in wider communities.

”The ways in which we now diagnose pathogens are becoming broader. Collaborative work in Kenya is employing modern diagnostic methods to screen for multiple pathogens in children hospitalized with acute gastroenteritis. This will allow a greater understanding of the prevalence and role of different pathogens in life-threatening illnesses. Modern sequencing techniques are also allowing us to screen for pathogens in different animal reservoirs and vectors. This gives us a more in-depth understanding of the distribution of infectious agents and where they hide before causing noticeable outbreaks of disease.”

Recent publications

Stubbs, S.C.B., Blacklaws, B.A., Yohan, B., Yudhaputri, F.A.,  Hayati, R.F., Schwem, B., Salvaña, E.M., Destura, R.V.D., Lester, J.S.,  Myint, K.S., Sasmono, R.T. & Frost, S.D.W. (2020) Assessment of a multiplex PCR and Nanopore-based method for dengue virus sequencing in Indonesia. Virol. J. 17, 24. doi: 10.1186/s12985-020-1294-6.

Coddou, M.F., Constantino-Casas, F., Scase, T., Day, M.J., Blacklaws, B.A. & Watson, P.J. (2020) Chronic inflammatory disease in pancreas, kidney and salivary glands of English cocker spaniels and dogs of other breeds shows similar histological features to human IgG4-related disease. J. Comp. Pathol. 177, 18-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jcpa.2020.03.008.

Stubbs, S.C.B., Quaye, O., Acquah, M.E., Adadey, S.M., Kean, I.R.L., Gupta, S., Blacklaws, B.A. (2020) Full genomic characterization of a porcine rotavirus strain detected in an asymptomatic piglet in Accra, Ghana. BMC Vet. Res. 16, 11. doi: 10.1186/s12917-019-2226-9.

Stubbs, S.C.B., Johar, E., Yudhaputri, F.A., Yohan, B., Santoso, M.S., Hayati, R.F., Denis, D., Blacklaws, B.A., Powers, A.M., Sasmono, R.T., Myint, K.S.A., Frost, S.D.W. (2020) An investigation into the epidemiology of chikungunya virus across neglected regions of Indonesia. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 14, e0008934. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008934.

Sasmono, R.T., Santoso, M.S., Pamai, Y.W.B., Yohan, B., Afida, A.M., Denis, D., Hutagalung, I.A., Johar, E., Hayati, R.F., Yudhaputri, F.A., Haryanto, S., Stubbs, S.C.B., Blacklaws, B.A., Myint, K.S.A., Frost, S.D.W. (2020) Distinct Dengue Disease Epidemiology, Clinical, and Diagnosis Features in Western, Central, and Eastern Regions of Indonesia, 2017-2019. Front. Med. (Lausanne). 7, 582235. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2020.582235.

Kanvatirth, P., Rossi, O., Restif, O., Blacklaws, B.A., Tonks, P., Grant, A.J., Mastroeni, P.J. (2020) Dual role of splenic mononuclear and polymorphonuclear cells in the outcome of ciprofloxacin treatment of Salmonella enterica infections. Antimicrob. Chemother. 75, 2914-2918. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkaa249.

Toro-Valdivieso, C., Toro, F., Stubbs, S., Castro-Nallar, E., Blacklaws B. (2021) Patterns of the fecal microbiota in the Juan Fernández fur seal (Arctocephalus philippii). Microbiologyopen. 10, e1215. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.1215.