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Renee Finnen PhD
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Assistant Professor
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Faculty Bio

Historically, many fundamental lessons about cell biology have been learned through studying the basic biology of viruses. Viruses are obligate intracellular pathogens that must co-opt many cellular functions for their propagation. Viruses must also be able to avoid or disarm the cellÕs intrinsic anti-viral responses for their propagation. Over my career as a virologist, I have had the opportunity to study the basic biology of several different viruses including small RNA viruses that infect plants, human adenoviruses, human papillomaviruses and, most recently, human alphaherpesviruses. My current research focuses on the alteration of cellular stress granules (SGs) by herpes simplex viruses (HSV). SGs are cytoplasmic structures that serve as centres for storing, sorting and triaging mRNAs and have recently gained appreciation as part of the cellÕs intrinsic anti-viral immunity. By studying how HSV infection alters these fascinating cellular structures, I hope to continue learning about the intricate interplay between virus and host cell.