Professor Aris Katzourakis

Research Interests

My research interests include viral evolution, genome evolution, and mobile genetic element evolution. This research is primarily focussed on studying the long term evolutionary biology of viruses. This is facilitated by the discovery of a rich genomic 'fossil record' of ancient viral sequences within the genomes of their hosts, leading to the emerging field of paleovirology.

Paleovirological techniques can be applied to endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) and endogenous viral elements (EVEs) more generally. For example, this can include using genomic sequence data to infer the evolutionary biology of retroviruses and their association with their vertebrate host genomes and immune responses, as well as modelling the dynamics of this evolutionary process. Other interests include present day viral pathogen evolution and epidemiology (e.g. HIV/HTLV), and evolutionary inference from both animal and viral genomic sequence data.

Additional Information: I am an associate editor of BMC Evolutionary Biology, and serve on the editorial board of Evolutionary Biology.

Selected Publications

Aswad A, Katzourakis A. (2012). Paleovirology and virally derived immunity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27: 627-636

Magiorkinis G, Gifford R, Katzourakis A, De Ranter J, Belshaw R. (2012) Env-less endogenous retroviruses are genomic superspreaders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109:7385-90

Katzourakis A, Gifford RJ. (2010). Endogenous viral elements in animal genomes. PLoS Genetics 6:e1001191

Katzourakis A, Gifford RJ, Tristem M, Gilbert MTP, Pybus OG. (2009). The macroevolution of complex retroviruses. Science 325:1512

Katzourakis, A., Pereira, V., Tristem, M. (2007). Effects of recombination rate on human endogenous retrovirus fixation and persistence. Journal of Virology 81: 10712-10717.

Belshaw, R., Watson, J., Katzourakis, A., Howe, A., Woolven-Allen, J., Burt, A., Tristem, M. (2007). Rate of recombinational deletion among human endogenous retroviruses. Journal of Virology 81: 9437-9442.

Katzourakis, A., Tristem, M., Pybus, O.G., Gifford, R. (2007). Discovery and analysis of the first endogenous lentivirus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104: 6261-6265.

Katzourakis, A., Rambaut, A., Pybus, O.G. (2005). The evolutionary dynamics of endogenous retroviruses. Trends in Microbiology 13: 463-468. ]

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