Much of what we study can be thought of as an elaborate chess match between hosts and the pathogens which infect them. Similar to chess, there are a variety of pieces on the board (e.g., proteins) with some more valuable/powerful than others – like the queen.
In the Hancks lab, we are using a variety of methods to identify queens on both sides of infection - host and pathogen - (Project 1) and how these factors function including different adaptive strategies at play (Project 1 and 3).
Interestingly, just as pieces across the chessboard mirror each other – each side has a knight – many viral genes resemble host genes. Specifically, viruses encode sequences stolen from host cells that have been modified through mutation and selection such that the viral gene products function to rewire cellular processes and aid in the subversion of host immune defenses to promote infection (Project 2).
To read more, please select Projects from the drop-down menu on the left.