Jelke Fros obtained his MSc degree (2010) in Biotechnology at Wageningen University, The Netherlands Cum Laude after back-to-back research projects at the Laboratory of Virology (Wageningen University) and the Inflammation Biology group at QIMR Berghofer in Brisbane, Australia. His PhD research (2011-2015) was performed at the Laboratory of Virology and the Laboratory of Entomology at Wageningen University. He studied the risk of West Nile virus and Usutu virus spread through Europe by investigating the vector competence of mosquitoes from (at that time) virus-free areas and multiple host-cell antiviral responses against mosquito-borne viruses. After his PhD, he took some time to help provide rapid Ebola virus diagnostics in Freetown, Sierra Leone with Partners in Health and the Erasmus Medical Centre (Rotterdam, The Netherlands). During his postdoc (2015-2017) at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford (United Kingdom) he investigated the genome composition of RNA viruses and the potential for antiviral pathways to recognise viral RNA as non-self. He returned to Wageningen on a personal fellowship (2017-2019) where he now leads his research group.
His group focusses on the arms race between virus and host, with specific interest in innate immune antiviral responses and how host cells detect genetic material from invading viruses. The group has a particular interest in viruses that can infect evolutionary distant organisms, such as mosquito-borne viruses as distinct virus-host interactions and evolutionary pressures in the vertebrate host and mosquito vector can provides valuable insights into virus evolution and interspecies barriers that restrict the viral host range. The group recently identified evolutionary pressures on mosquito-borne virus genomes in mosquito vector cells that directly oppose the evolutionary pressures present in cells of the vertebrate host. The group also applies this knowledge to rationally design recoded viruses that are produced with a synthetic biology approach and tested as novel live-attenuated virus vaccines.