Dr. Kurath has been a federal research microbiologist at the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle since 1992, where she directs an active research group investigating viral fish pathogens of global importance. She has also been affiliate faculty at the University of Washington since 1994, where she is currently an affiliate professor in both the Pathobiology Graduate Program and the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Her work involves the epidemiology and evolution of fish rhabdoviruses that cause major disease burdens in Pacific salmon and trout species, with impacts in both conservation hatchery programs and intensive aquaculture industries. Based on 20 years of genetic typing of virus field isolates her group has conducted molecular epidemiology studies at local, regional, and international scales. Hypotheses developed from field observations are tested in controlled wetlab experiments in vivo, with molecular analyses to define the host-pathogen factors that drive ecological events. Current research topics include viral host specificity, viral fitness, viral displacement events, evolution of specialist and generalist virus lineages, molecular basis of virulence, and virulence evolution after host jumps. As a general strategy her work contributes to sound fish health management in the Pacific Northwest and the northern hemisphere, and also serves as uniquely tractable model systems for addressing questions of basic virology in vertebrate hosts.