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.
Evolutionary Analysis of Placental Orthologues Reveals Two Ancient DNA Virus Integrations.
Nino Barreat JG. and Katzourakis A., (2022), J Virol
A framework for reconstructing SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics using excess mortality data.
Ghafari M. et al, (2022), Nat Commun, 13
Purifying Selection Determines the Short-Term Time Dependency of Evolutionary Rates in SARS-CoV-2 and pH1N1 Influenza.
Ghafari M. et al, (2022), Mol Biol Evol, 39
Paleovirology of the DNA viruses of eukaryotes.
Barreat JGN. and Katzourakis A., (2021), Trends Microbiol
A mechanistic evolutionary model explains the time-dependent pattern of substitution rates in viruses.
Ghafari M. et al, (2021), Curr Biol