Infectious diseases have large-scale human impact, and virology research works to tackle current issues while building knowledge to prepare for future threats and to provide more broad spectrum controls. John and Jeanne Rowe have provided long-term support for Ahlquist’s research group, which studies viruses like HIV, human papillomavirus and Chikungunya.
This is an important and exciting time to be studying virology, Ahlquist says, thanks to the new perspective provided by genomics and advanced computation. Prior to this time, incremental advances in knowledge often lacked the larger context, how these puzzle pieces all fit together.
To statistician Ming Yuan, the challenge of dealing with big data reminds him of the Indian fable “Blind Men and the Elephant,” in which six blind men touch one distinct part of an elephant — an ear, a tail, a trunk, a husk — and reach narrow conclusions about the nature of the animal.