Many of our recent discoveries involve clinically important human pathogens and offer hope for development of new strategies in the battle against these infections. The work has provided scientists all over the world over with new ways of studying viral infection and replication, while revealing valuable new directions for investigation. Examples of these research findings include:
- In collaboration with UW-Madison Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka, the first genome-wide analysis of host gene contributions to influenza virus replication.
- The identification of multiple new host functions and antiviral targets in the replication of HIV, hepatitis B virus (the major cause of liver cancer) and human papillomavirus (which causes cervical and other cancers).
- New insights into the contributions of papillomaviruses and Epstein-Barr virus to human cancers, including unique views of early stages in human cancer development.
Our work at Virology holds the promise of improving human health in a number of critical ways. Unraveling the mystery of how viruses co-opt the inner workings of their cellular hosts will enable development of more effective antiviral therapies. We are also seeking to understand how certain viruses contribute to tumor development and help sustain malignant tumors. Such research is expected to reveal ways to interfere with virus infection or genetic function to prevent or treat many cancers. We want to help promising medical research breakthroughs move efficiently from academic laboratories into clinical evaluation and further development for end-use. The implications of our achievements will accelerate development of antiviral drugs and other approaches to virus control. Ultimately, the public will benefit from improved vaccines, antiviral therapies, cancer treatments and nanomaterials for use in medicine and engineering.