I am a virologist and disease biologist with a passion for data. My research interests focus on the evolution at the host-virus interface and the global changes that define disease states. Although I was initially trained as an experimental biologist, I have spent the last few years developing computational and bioinformatic tools to improve sequencing pipelines and maximize the utility of the data they produce.
Virus Evolution Within and Between Hosts
Large virus populations evolve quickly to overcome challenges in their environment, leading to the emergence of new traits, such as resistance to antivirals, altered host range, and pathogenicity. Using evolutionary experiments to understand the biological and population genetic mechanisms that underly viral adaptation is a key focus of my work.
Infection and Disease
Virus infection triggers immune and stress responses within the infected host. These responses, differ widely within host tissues, and often cause much of the pathogenicity associated with virus infection. How these responses are deployed, and how they differ between hosts, and individual tissues, is a fundamental question in viral disease, tropism and treatment. I am developing experimental and computational methods to probe these questions with greater resolution.
Evolutionary Modeling and Library-based Evolutionary Experiments
Viruses are also a powerful tool for understanding the constraints that prevent certain evolutionary outcomes. Combining phylogenetics with large-scale screening and evolutionary experiments, I hope to probe the principles of evolutionary robustness, recombination and complementarity.
Host Genomics and Virus Susceptibility
Recently, we have investigated the role of endogenous viral elements, RNA virus sequences stored in the host genome through reverse transcription, in immunity to RNA viruses in mosquitoes. We've shown that these sequences are stored in arrays that can be transcribed and processed into small RNAs that may exert an antiviral effect, known as piwi-associated RNAs or piRNAs. I'm interested in how we can use comparative analyses between mosquitoes to understand the effect of these sequences on virus transmission.