Dr. Zhilong Yang
"We study fundamental questions of virus replication and host interactions. A virus relies on its infected host cell to replicate, while the host has developed various means against the invading virus. What mechanisms can a host cell use to protect itself? How does a virus replicate in a hostile environment? What is the relationship between a virus and its infected host cell during an infection? Such investigations of viral replication and fundamental life processes of host cells could lead to the development of strategies to treat and prevent human diseases, including cancers. Our lab is currently focusing on poxviruses, which can cause death in humans and economically important animals. However, poxviruses could also be useful for cancer therapy and vaccine development. Certain poxviruses can not only be used as vaccine vectors against cancers but also to cause cancer cell death. The use of poxvirus for cancer therapy is promising and our studies will provide novel knowledge that could help to better use poxviruses in these applications."