Our Viruses

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). 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. 

Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV)

KSHV is a virus belonging to the family of herpesviruses, which has seven other members that infect humans. Read More >

Merkel Cell Polyomavirus

Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, aggressive neoplasm, which commonly involves the skin, but can subsequently metastasize to lymph nodes and other organs. Read More >

Rat Polyomavirus

Polyomaviruses (PyVs) are known to infect a wide range of vertebrates and invertebrates and are associated with a broad spectrum of diseases, including cancers, particularly in immune-suppressed hosts. Read More > 

New Pathogen Discovery: Digital Transcriptome Subtraction

Digital transcriptome subtraction or DTS was developed by Feng et al. to discover new viral agents associated with human cancers. Work on this approach was begun over a decade ago, prior to the release of the full human genome. Read More >