Herpesviruses are ubiquitous, opportunistic pathogens, characterized by the establishment of life-long infections in their natural hosts. As such, they have developed elegant strategies to infect, evade and persist in the face of host intrinsic, innate, and adaptive immunity. The long-term goal of our research is to identify, characterize, and interrogate the molecular mechanisms important for virus-host interactions. Much of our work focuses on the pathogenesis of betaherpeviruses, which includes the human pathogen Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV). HCMV is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised individuals and is the leading infectious cause of congenital birth defects in the United States. Owing to the strict species specificity of betaherpesviruses, we utilize Murine Cytomegalovirus (MCMV), a powerful model system for HCMV pathogenesis, in our studies of CMV-host interactions. Our interests lie in understanding host innate immune defenses and the mechanisms by which MCMV, and a growing number of other pathogens including reovirus, influenza, and vaccinia virus, thwart these defenses. Combining techniques from genetics, molecular and cell biology, virology, and immunology, we aim to develop a better understanding of these molecular mechanisms, which in turn will allow us to exploit them to improve detection and treatment of viral diseases.