We pursue biology through virology by uncovering fundamental aspects of the interplay between viruses and their hosts and use this knowledge to expand our molecular toolbox and enable new innovations.
The biology underlying the interplay between viruses and their hosts represent the products of evolutionary adaptations that are rooted in the origins of life itself. Both virus replication strategies and host defense mechanisms have materialized as a result of countless gene duplications and modifications to pre existing molecular tools that provide a selective advantage. Each successful new replication strategy or host defense then drives further adaptation in an endless evolutionary process.
The study of how life responds to virus infection has significantly advanced our fundamental understanding of molecular biology. From basic transcriptional control to gene splicing, viruses have provided us an insight into the basic mechanics of all life. Moreover, the study of viral defense systems has provided us with restriction enzymes to cut and design DNA, RNA interference (RNAi) to silence mRNA, cytokines with immune-modulating properties, and most recently, CRISPR biology, which has enabled DNA editing with unprecedented specificity. Despite all of the knowledge and technology that has accrued from the study of virus-host interactions there is undoubtedly much more to be discovered, a prospect that drives our work in the tenOever Lab.