Frank O. Aylward is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on the diversity and phylogenomics of marine bacteria, archaea and viruses with an emphasis on evolutionary processes that shape genome composition. Several of his recent research directions focus on the genomics and biogeography of giant viruses and their role in marine ecosystems. He received a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Arizona, followed by a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His thesis work focused on understanding the community dynamics of symbiotic microbial assemblages associated with fungus-growing insects, in particular leaf-cutter ants. From there he did postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his work focused on metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches for analyzing temporal dynamics of marine microbial communities. Aylward was the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Ocean Sciences in 2018.