Professor of Evolution and Genomics
- Tutorial Fellow of St Hilda's College
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.
The Potential Role of Endogenous Viral Elements in the Evolution of Bats as Reservoirs for Zoonotic Viruses.
Skirmuntt EC. et al, (2020), Annu Rev Virol
The evolution of endogenous retroviral envelope genes in bats and their potential contribution to host biology.
Skirmuntt EC. and Katzourakis A., (2019), Virus Res, 270
The First Co-Opted Endogenous Foamy Viruses and the Evolutionary History of Reptilian Foamy Viruses.
Aiewsakun P. et al, (2019), Viruses, 11
Modular nature of simian foamy virus genomes and their evolutionary history.
Aiewsakun P. et al, (2019), Virus Evol, 5
Prisoners of war - host adaptation and its constraints on virus evolution.
Simmonds P. et al, (2019), Nat Rev Microbiol, 17, 321 - 328