VIRUS GENOMICS

The research group Virus Genomics focuses on unraveling the genetic mechanisms that control human viral infections and associated diseases. In order to better understand the complex networks that regulate viral infections on the genetic level, we interrogate experimental infection systems using novel bioinformatic tools and genome-scale analytical methods. 

Human DNA tumor viruses are a major emphasis of our research efforts. Besides of the Merkel Cell Polyomavirus, a recently discovered virus that contributes to the development of malignant Merkel cell carcinoma, we focus on Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), two gamma-herpesviruses that according to current estimates are associated with approximately 1-2% of all tumor cases worldwide. Both viruses employ highly complex mechanisms to regulate their own gene expression, but at the same time also manipulate the genome of their host cells.

Another focus of our work is the development of next generation sequencing (NGS)-based methods for the reliable detection and analysis of known as well as novel infectious agents in clinical specimen.