The KeraFAST laboratory studies the structure, assembly, and pathogenesis of enveloped RNA viruses. These projects are focused on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a widely studied prototype enveloped virus that serves as a model for many other viruses that have envelopes as part of their structure. Research programs focus on molecular interactions involved in virus assembly and molecular mechanisms involved in viral pathogenesis. During studies of virus assembly, the laboratory discovered that the viral matrix protein suppresses host gene expression. This activity represents a second function for matrix protein in virus-infected cells in addition to its role in virus assembly. Research from thelab has led to new ideas for developing viral matrix protein mutants that selectively kill cancer cells (oncolytic viruses), and viral mutants that are more effective vaccine vectors.