James B. Duke Professor of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology


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 Rutgers University in NJ. In 1987, he was recruited to Duke University Medical Center as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He currently holds a James B. Duke Professorship in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

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 virus-encoded microRNAs, and also the use of CRISPR/Cas-based gene editing technology as a tool to investigate and inhibit the replication of several different DNA viruses. Another important research interest is focused on identifying and mapping post-transcriptional modifications of viral mRNAs and determining how these “epitranscriptomic” modifications affect viral replication and pathogenicity.

Honors & Awards

Elected to the rank of Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

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) []. Bryan R. Cullen’s  h index was 109 in September 2019.

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)

Invited to give 16th annual Bernard Fields Memorial Lecture at the 2011 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections

Invited to give the annual Raymond Schinazi Distinguished Lectureship at Emory University Medical School (2014)

PLoS Pathogens selected two manuscripts from the Cullen laboratory (#220 and #269) as among the most important published in the first ten years of the journal’s existence (42 total and 11 virology manuscripts were chosen)

Honorary doctorate of science (D.Sc.) awarded by Warwick University, UK (2016)

Data obtained from J.P.A Ioannidis et. al., published in PLoS Biology, August 2019: This study analyzed the citation impact of the ~6 million scientists that published at least 5 papers in the period 1/1/1996 to 12/31/2017 and then rank ordered the most highly cited 100,000 scientists across all fields. The Cullen laboratory ranked as the 590th most highly cited research laboratory across all fields in this time period and was also ranked as the 3rd most highly cited virology laboratory.