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Understanding Viruses for Improved Human Health

In Kristin Parent’s world of studying viruses that infect bacteria, she knows if there’s a host, there’s also a virus that can infect it. What she and her team learn about one virus can be applied to another. And their findings could be critically important to human health.

“I’m absolutely fascinated by viruses. They’re small and simple, yet also complex and elegant. And in the electron microscope, some of them look like really awesome little monsters.”

Parent is the J.K. Billman, Jr., M.D. Endowed Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University. She and her team are investigating a virus isolated in the Amazon in Brazil. They’re developing techniques to look at the virus under much higher resolution than standard microscopy provides and to create three-dimensional images to better understand its behavior—and its potential impact on human health.

Along the way, Parent is arming the next generation of scientists with the tools they need to advance the research and answer the next big questions.

Learn more about Dr. Parent’s research in this recent lecture.

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