What determines Ebolavirus pathogenicity? – an interview with Mark Wass

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The devastating 2013–2016 West African Ebola virus outbreak sparked a large amount of research into this virus, producing some fascinating findings in many areas. At the recent Microbiology Society Annual Conference (10–12 April, Birmingham, UK) we spoke to Mark Wass about his work on Ebolaviruses in which he’s delved into the molecular determinants of the virus’s pathogenicity. In this interview, he talks more about his research and how computational investigations could be used to better understand pathogens.

First, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

My background was initially in biochemistry but then I moved into computing and subsequently bioinformatics. Currently I’m a Senior Lecturer in computational biology at the University of Kent (Canterbury, UK) where I’ve been for over 5 years and I run a research group there, which has a diverse range of research interests. Primarily we develop computational methods, largely to analyze proteins, protein structures, genetic variation etc., and in the past few years we’ve used those tools to investigate Ebolaviruses.

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