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Paul Bieniasz seeks to define how host genes and pathways influence the replication of retroviruses, including HIV-1. Focusing primarily on human and primate immunodeficiency viruses, Bieniasz and his team work to determine the functions of viral genes and proteins and characterize the host functions that retroviruses mimic and manipulate. They also study the molecular defense mechanisms that host cells have evolved against retrovirus infection, from ancient to modern times. In addition, the team is working to develop more useful models of AIDS virus infection, to provide improved testing of new forms of therapy and vaccination.