The battle between cells and the microbes that infect them reflects a long evolutionary history where every defense generated by the host inevitably results in a corresponding counter defense by the pathogen. Given almost four billion years of conflict, this evolutionary arms race has become increasingly complex yet it still echoes some common principles evident in all taxa.

The study of these antiviral systems has significantly advanced our understanding of molecular biology. Viruses, and the defenses they induce, have provided us an insight into the mechanics of all life, from basic transcriptional control to the complexities of gene splicing and catalytic RNAs. Moreover, these studies have uncovered enzymes to cut and paste DNA, small RNAs to silence specific cell messages, cytokines with immune-modulating properties, and most recently, CRISPR biology, which has enabled DNA editing with unprecedented ease and specificity.

Despite all of the knowledge and advances that have accrued from research on virus- host interactions, there is undoubtedly much more to be discovered. For this reason, the tenOever lab continues to explore this biology and is specifically interested in understanding the origins and functions of our complex antiviral defense system. This information continues to enable new tools that can be applied to advance our understanding of virus and host biology, while simultaneously creating novel platforms for the design of vaccines and other therapeutics.