My research group uses the genomes of viruses to trace the evolution of major communicable diseases and to understand their origins, emergence and control. We have made seminal discoveries pinpointing where, when and how HIV originated and spread worldwide, and how influenza pandemics like the 1918 ‘Spanish flu’ emerge and kill large numbers of people. Our work gets frequent worldwide press coverage, and is the focus of several books and documentary films (e.g. Spillover, Tinderbox, Rise of the Killer Virus).