Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a common human herpes virus known to infect the majority of the world population. Infection with EBV is often asymptomatic but can manifest in a range of pathologies from infectious mononucleosis to severe cancers of epithelial and lymphocytic origin. Indeed, in the past decade, EBV has been linked to nearly 10% of all gastric cancers. Furthermore, recent advances in high-throughput next-generation sequencing and the development of humanized mice, which effectively model EBV pathogenesis, have led to a wealth of knowledge pertaining to strain variation and host-pathogen interaction. This review highlights some recent advances in our understanding of EBV biology, focusing on new findings on the early events of infection, the role EBV plays in gastric cancer, new strain variation, and humanized mouse models of EBV infection.