Herpesviruses are an important cause of severe diseases in humans and animals. Following infection herpesviruses persist in the host as latent virus (i.e., the virus enters a sleep mode). Later in life, the virus can awaken (reactivation) to cause recurrent disease. I will investigate how herpesviruses establish latency and how they can reactivate. For this I will be using varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the cause of chickenpox and shingles, as a model.
More insight into these poorly understood processes will be essential for the development of new therapies that prevent reactivation of VZV and possibly other herpesviruses.