The evolutionary interactions of host-pathogen systems are a very interesting topic of fundamental biology, but also contribute to a better understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of infections.
I will focus my research on Mopeia virus (MOPV), which is closely related to the dangerous human pathogen Lassa virus (LASV) and has the same rodent host, Mastomys natalensis. MOPV is not pathogenic to humans though, making research on this virus in natural populations of M. natalensis much more feasible. I am aiming to identify the basis of the MOPV-M. natalensis interaction, by performing infection experiments in a laboratory population of M. natalensis and by genotyping different strains of MOPV. After this, I will analyse the variability of these loci in host and virus genome in natural populations through time and space.