Professor David Robertson is head of the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR)’s Bioinformatics group. His research interests encompass computational and data-driven approaches applied to viruses and their host interactions. He has over 25 years of experience of studying molecular evolution and has made contributions to understanding the importance of viral diversity and recombination, for example, the first reporting of widespread recombination in HIV-1 and explanations for the non-random distribution of breakpoints. He’s studied viral evolution in longitudinal studies in the context of drug resistance, worked on the naming and significance of clusters of viruses and characterisation of novel variants related to animal reservoirs. A current main area of focus is the study of virus-host molecular interactions using bioinformatics and machine learning approaches.
Since the first genome from the COVID-19 outbreak became available in 2020 he’s been working on the origins of the pandemic and its subsequent evolution in the human population. This has included analysis of SARS-CoV-2’s link to bat viruses, the important role of recombination, and studying the significance (or not) of mutations for virus biology and antigenicity.