Viruses and Cancer
The overall focus of my research lab is to determine the mechanisms by which oncogenic viruses and other tumor microenvironmental stresses contribute to neoplasia by post-translational modification (PTM) of proteins. In particular, we have been studying (i) the virus-/stress-induced SUMOylation and phosphorylation of Histone Deacetylases to show how these modifications change the neoplastic program, primarily through altering the cancer epigenome; (ii) how oncoviral proteins regulate cellular post-translational modification pathways and provide new critical signals in viral-induced carcinogenesis.
As a model system, we have been studying head and neck cancers, since these tumors are both Human Papilloma Virus positive and negative. Within this context, we are currently understanding how inhibitors of cellular enzymes crucial for chromatin modification, such as Histone Deacetylases, exert anti-tumorigenesis activity, also by triggering epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.
Most recently, we have developed a keen interest in biological as well as clinical sex/gender differences in head and neck cancers.
Most Relevant Publications
c-MYC-dependent transcriptional inhibition of autophagy is implicated in cisplatin sensitivity in HPV-positive head and neck cancer.
Cell Death Dis, 2023
NPJ Precis Oncol, 2023
J Exp Clin Cancer Res, 2022
Plos Pathog, 2017