Molecular Virology

The Molecular Virology Program at Yale University is a campus-wide, interdepartmental program designed to coordinate and facilitate the study of viruses and viral diseases.

Mission and specific goals

The mission of the Molecular Virology Program at Yale is to facilitate the acquisition of new insights into virus biology and cellular function through the study of viruses and to develop novel approaches to inhibit viral infection or treat viral diseases. The goals of the Molecular Virology program include:

  • To facilitate the conduct of innovative research on various phases of virus life cycles, including virus entry, assembly, and structure; genome replication and recombination; transcription; and translation; in order to understand the basic biology of these processes and to identify targets for therapy
  • To facilitate the study of the interactions of viruses with their host cells to gain new insights into both the virus and the host and to unravel aspects of disease pathogenesis to unravel aspects of disease pathogenesis, including viral-induced carcinogenesis
  • To facilitate the discovery of novel antiviral approaches and drugs antiviral approaches and drugs, including novel vaccination strategies
  • To provide outstanding training in virology
  • To foster communication and collaboration among all scientists with interests in virology at Yale, including basic virologists, computational biologists, epidemiologists, and clinicians

Because viruses are critically dependent on their host cells and have co-evolved with them, studies of viruses have historically provided numerous insights into basic cellular biology. Viruses are also important vectors for gene therapy and vaccination, and viral gene products may have important research and clinical uses. Increased understanding of viruses has also revolutionized the treatment and prevention of disease, but the emergence of diseases such as AIDS, avian influenza, and SARS demonstrates that viral diseases remain an ongoing problem with staggering public health implications. In addition, viral-associated cancers are a leading cause of death, chronic viral diseases cause significant morbidity, and bioterrorism based on pathogenic viruses is a serious concern. Thus, the study of viruses will continue to provide important biological insights and suggest new strategies for coping with serious human diseases.

Activities of the Molecular Virology Program

Yale has a rich tradition in virology and great strength in many disciplines relevant to the study of viruses: structural biology and biochemistry; studies of DNA replication, damage, and repair; RNA science; immunobiology; cell biology; microbial pathogenesis; genetics and evolution; bioinformatics and computational biology; epidemiology; and infectious disease research. The activities of the Molecular Virology Program are designed to continue this tradition and exploit these strengths by coordinating and facilitating virology research at Yale.

Seminars in Virology. Seminars of interest are sponsored by the Molecular Virology Program and other academic units of the University including the Microbiology Graduate Program.

Molecular Virology and Oncology Group Meetings. These are monthly, informal research-in-progress talks supported by the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center. Please contact Paula O’Mara (Paula.omara@yale.edu) for more information.

Stephen F. Degar, Ph.D., Memorial Lecture. This is an annual distinguished lectureship in the areas of Tumor Virology and AIDS research, sponsored by the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Connecticut Virology Club. This group, which is jointly organized by scientists at Yale, the University of Connecticut, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, meets approximately three times every year at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute in nearby Wallingford, Connecticut. Attendees must register first with Dona Morse at Bristol-Myers Squibb (Dona.morse@bms.com).

Microbiology Retreat. This is an annual one-day retreat of Yale faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students sponsored by the Microbiology Graduate Program. For more information, please contact Darlene Smith (Darlene.a.smith@yale.edu).

Training opportunities in Virology at Yale

Prospective graduate students with an interest in virology can apply for admission to the Microbiology Track of the Combined Graduate Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) at Yale. More information about the BBS.

Yale undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with interests in virology are directed to the following courses:

Prospective postdoctoral research fellows should directly contact individual faculty members. See Virology laboratories.

Clinicians interested in post-doctoral training in Pediatric or Adult Infectious Diseases should directly contact Dr. George Miller, Professor of Pediatrics (George.miller@yale.edu) or Dr. Vincent Quagliarello, Professor of Internal Medicine (Vincent.quagliarello@yale.edu).