The Geballe lab studies the molecular pathogenesis of human (HCMV) and murine (MCMV) cytomegalovirus infections. HCMV causes substantial morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients such as those undergoing treatment for leukemia and other cancers. As well HCMV is immunosuppressive, an effect that may contribute to the development of other infections and diseases including cancer. Like other viruses, both HCMV and MCMV have evolved mechanisms to evade the shut off of protein synthesis mediated by the interferon-induced, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-activated protein kinase R (PKR). Blocking the PKR pathway is essential for replication of HCMV, MCMV as well as other human pathogenic viruses and thus elucidating the molecular basis of PKR evasion is likely to reveal insights useful for understanding pathogenesis and possibly for designing new anti-viral intervention strategies. Trainees in the Geballe lab are aiming to clarify the specific protein-protein and protein-dsRNA interactions that are necessary for evading PKR and related dsRNA-activated cellular responses during HCMV and MCMV infections.