Viruses have two opposing faces. On the one hand, they are notorious as the causative agents of a wide range of diseases and are a major cause of human suffering and death worldwide. On the other hand, viruses are used with increasing frequency in novel therapeutic approaches, for instance for gene therapy and cancer treatment. Oncolytic viruses serve the latter purpose, by virtue of their capacity to preferentially infect and kill cancer cells. We study both of these aspects of virology.
Viruses are experts in taking over host cells, a process essential for the production of viral progeny. Following infection, major factors determining a virus’ success are exploitation of normal cellular processes and adaptation to anti-viral measures taken by the host.