We are studying the ‘arms race’ between viruses and their hosts to find better ways of treating viral infections such as HIV.
Viruses and their hosts have co-existed for tens of millions of years, locked in an evolutionary ‘arms race’: as an animal evolves to resist viral infection, the virus evolves to get around the host’s defences.
We are particularly focusing on retroviruses such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). We want to know exactly how these viruses infect human and other primate cells, and which proteins they interact with along the way.
We also want to find out how these molecules have evolved over time to protect cells against infection and identify the specific viruses they guard against. And we’re investigating the molecules that viruses produce to combat the host defences, to see how they have evolved over time in response.
By finding out more about the evolution of host defences and viral attacks, we hope to come up with new ideas for treating or preventing HIV and other retroviral infections.