Spyros Lytras

Spyros Lytras

Position: PhD Researcher at the MRC – University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research

Research focus: arms-race evolution between viruses and their hosts, genomic signatures in viral genomes, recombination in coronaviruses.

What do you love about viruses?
For me, viruses are the perfect model system for studying evolution! Their genomes change very fast and are under all sorts of interesting selective pressures. They really give us a sped up view of how all life has come to be.

What is your favourite way to spend a day off?
Read a good book at the park or have wine with friends.

What are you currently learning?
Started learning Japanese on duolingo during the first lockdown, 550 days so far and going strong!

If you could create a new invention, what would it be?
A virtual reality software for exploring sequence data (walking into chromosomes/segments and looking at the sequence would be so much cooler than scrolling).

What is the most interesting question or challenge in science that is still unanswered?
How did all life begin!

What is the coolest thing about your research?
I primarily work on sequence data made available by other scien- tists, so I find really cool how many scientific insights one can get by analysing the knowledge already available out there.

What was your most surprising scientific finding?
Finding an endogenous viral element shared between lizards and birds that must have integrated >300 million years ago (probably in a dinosaur!)

Which scientific topic (outside of your field of research) do you think should have more scientific attention?
Using social media data to better understand and predict human behaviour.