David Tscharke began his research career at the University of Adelaide and IMVS in Adelaide, studying interactions between the immune system and herpes simplex virus (HSV, the cause of cold sores). After gaining his PhD he worked in postdoctoral positions at Oxford University and then Imperial College London in the UK, working on projects related to viral pathogenesis and vaccine design. Following this, he moved to the US National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD) where he focused on understanding how the immune system recognises viruses and vaccines. He then returned to Australia, working first at QIMR in Brisbane, before starting his own lab and taking on undergraduate teaching in the former department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the ANU in 2006. Since then he has received a Young Tall Poppy Award and has held an NHMRC Career Development Award and ARC Future Fellowship. In 2016 he moved his laboratory across campus to the John Curtin School of Medical Research and took up an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. Throughout his career he has had the benefit of working with excellent mentors, generous collaborators and brilliant students. His current research combines all the themes he has developed throughout his career, from understanding the dormant phase of infection with HSV to gaining new insight into the way our immune system recognises and responds to viruses and vaccines.