Bryan Cullen, PhD – Biography

James B. Duke Professor
Founding Director, Center for Virology

research • biography • lab members • publicationslab website


Bryan R. Cullen obtained a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Warwick University in the UK and an M.Sc. in Virology from the University of Birmingham before moving to the USA, where he obtained a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ. In 1987, he was recruited to Duke University Medical Center as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Assistant Professor. He currently holds a James B. Duke Professorship in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. He founded and led the Center for Virology at Duke, serving as its director from inception in 2002 until 2017.

Bryan Cullen’s interests have historically revolved around the use of viruses as genetic tools to understand aspects of the biology of the eukaryotic cell, focusing particularly on RNA-sequence mediated gene regulation. Currently, his laboratory is studying the biogenesis and function of microRNAs, and in particular, virus-encoded microRNAs and also works on human factors that act as innate inhibitors of both retrovirus infection and retrotransposon mobility.

Honors & Awards

•Recipient of the 1989 Eli Lilly Molecular Biology Contact Award

•Recipient of a 1993 Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award

•Listed as one of the 10 most cited AIDS researchers by Science (Heavy Hitters in AIDS, Vol. 260, p. 1262, 1993)

•Recipient of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Distinguished Alumni Award (2000)

•Awarded the distinguished professorship James B. Duke Professor of Genetics (2000)
Listed as one of the world’s most “Highly Cited Researchers” by the Institute for Scientific Information (2001) []

•Appointed to the honorary position of “Visiting Professor,” by the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK (2002)

•Awarded a Distinguished Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) at Durham University, U.K. (2007)

•Elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology (2009)

•Bernard Fields Memorial Lectureship, 2011 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunisitic Infections

•Elected to the rank of Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2011)

•Awarded a Visiting Professorship by the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) at the University of Warwick, UK (2012)