Viral Diversity and Evolution
The Aylward lab is broadly interested in the ecology and evolution of viruses. Hallmark discoveries made over the last ~40 years have underscored the importance of microbes to the planet and shown that global biogeochemical cycles are driven by diverse groups of bacteria, archaea, protists, and their viruses, most of which lack any cultivated representatives. Novel viral lineages continue to be discovered using cultivation-independent methods, and currently a major challenge is understanding the ecology and evolution of these groups, what governs their host range and infection dynamics, and their broader impact on the biosphere. We use a combination of computational and experimental approaches to investigate the phylogenetic, genomic, and metabolic diversity of various viral groups. Check the Research page for more specific ongoing directions.