The Avgousti Lab is focused on the mechanisms by which viruses hijack chromatin. Due to the major advancement in sequencing technologies and the expansion of the field of epigenetics, exploiting viruses to investigate chromatin biology has enormous potential. Our goal is to advance basic understanding of viral manipulation of chromatin and uncover new aspects of chromatin biology and virus biology. Much like the cellular genome, viral genomes must be compacted in virus particles with small basic molecules to maximize space and be poised for gene expression. Some DNA viruses use cellular histone proteins to compact their genomes whereas others use small basic molecules. Adenoviruses encode their own histone-like protein, called protein VII, that forms a ‘beads on a string’ assembly with the viral genome. We are interested in how adenovirus manipulates host chromatin through protein VII and more broadly how DNA viruses use histones or histone-like proteins for dual function: to compact their genomes and control host genomes.