The focus of research in the Overbaugh lab is on mechanisms of viral pathogenesis. Her lab studies several retroviruses, with a particular focus on those that lead to a prolonged chronic asymptomatic infection followed by eventual development of immunodeficiency disease (FeLV, SIV and HIV). Studies of her group focus on how the properties of the virus itself influence the eventual outcome of infection. These studies include a detailed analysis of the sequence and biological characteristics of viruses that spread from host to host. Her group studies process that contribute to persistence of these viruses once infection is established, and the processes of evolution and adaptation that result from selective pressures in the host, such as changes in cell tropism/receptor specificity and immune escape. Trainees in her lab engage in studies of viral evolution, virus-host cell interactions, and viral immunology.