Evolutionary biologist Hendrik Poinar's ancient DNA technology has become integral to fighting infectious disease around the world, including the current pandemic. The technique pioneered by Professor Poinar and his team is used to detect coronaviruses in bats, the first step in tracking this family of deadly viruses. It also allowed Poinar and other scientists to discover that bubonic plague became less virulent over time, eventually dying out in Europe. This knowledge has provided researchers with an understanding of the function of viruses like SARS-CoV-2. On a day-to-day basis, Prof. Poinar's technology is used to capture antimicrobial resistance in hospitals and to track sepsis in ICU patients so doctors know what type infection they're facing and how to combat it. Currently it is at the heart of new research to discover whether those who survived the Black Death of the 14th Century had specific genetic mutations that might provide the key to fighting other deadly pathogens today.