2003 Recipient of Axel Tech Endowed Professorship
My research has extended into several areas in virology even though my training has been in the area of poxviruses. I have been involved in basic research projects centering around genes involved in the replication of vaccinia virus and putative immune modulating genes of Molluscum Contagiosum Virus (MCV) via a collaboration with Dr. Joachim Bugert, Cardiff Univeristy, Wales, UK.
Other research has involved seasonal studies to quantitate the number of bacteriophage in Lake Winnebago. Until recently, aquatic virology has been a neglected part of microbial ecology. Only a decade ago, researchers began to quantitate the numbers of viruses in seawater and freshwater. These observations came as a surprise. As many as 1,000,000 viruses are present in a teaspoon of water. Numerous studies have shown that viruses are consistently the most abundant biological entities in the sea and freshwater. They are approximately 5-25 times the bacterial abundance and follow the same general abundance patterns as bacteria. Viral abundances are dynamic. It was discovered that viruses in the ocean were not very stable. They survived only hours or days and their numbers fluctuated dramatically from season to season. Therefore to reach the high densities in water samples, the viruses had to be constantly replicating--infection had to be a common occurrence.
Current research is studying the antiviral activity of commercial juices. This work was recently presented at the 24th Annual American Society for Virology Meeting held at Penn State, University Park, PA. This work will be extended via a collaboration with Brant Kedrowski , Chemistry, UW-Oshkosh.