James B. Duke Professor of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Director, Duke Center for Virology


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 and serves as Director of the Center for Virology at Duke.

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 viruses such as HIV-1 and HPV. Another research interest is the role of post-transcriptional modifications of mRNAs and how these affect viral replication.

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) [].

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)