Balaji’s laboratory focuses on understanding the dynamic interplay between viral and host factors that govern pathogenicity and immunity, using influenza virus as a model pathogen. They have developed techniques to engineer recombinantinfluenza viruses to carry fluorescent reporter genes. They utilize these viruses to understand how highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1) spreads in infected animals, how the host immune system fights to control the infection, and how the virus counteracts or evades the host immune system. Other aspects of their research include understanding the molecular details of influenza virus replication processes, from virus entry to exit. The overall objective for their research is to gain a sound understanding of complex interactions between virus-host, and to utilize this information to develop novel therapeutic drugs against influenza viruses and potentially other respiratory pathogens.