Only seven human viruses cause nearly 20% of cancers world-wide. Our lab discovered two of these seven viruses: Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV or HHV8) in 1994 and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV). We also developed digital transcriptome subtraction, which was the first non-directed mRNA sequencing approach to find new human viruses.
Because cancer viruses contain the genetic information needed to cause cancer, they have been critical to understanding how cancer cells arise, even for those cancers that are not caused by infection. Our lab has two broad focus areas: first, we seek to find new ways to identify human cancer viruses, including high-throughput genomics and proteomics. Second, we study viral oncogenes to understand how they act to turn a healthy cell into a cancer cell.
If you want to learn more, please look at our publications page here for full-text articles. If you are a Pitt student or a postdoc interested in this research, contact us here, or learn more about the Cancer Virology Program at Pitt, here. We have various reagents available on our “Research Tools” page or visit our reagent page at Addgene. And for an early seminar on KSHV, visit our Youtube video here.