SURF

Nicholas Carey

Characterizing the Function of Unique KSHV Genes

We are studying the eighth human herpes virus; Kaposis Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV). This is a sexually transmitted virus that establishes life-long infections. KSHV does not cause symptoms in most people but is known to cause three types of cancer (Kaposis Sarcoma, Pulmonary Effusion Lymphoma, and Multicentric Castleman Disease) in immunocompromised people, such as those with HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that 20-50% of people with HIV are also infected with KSHV. KSHV has several regions of DNA called open reading frames (ORFs) that are completely unique and their role in the KSHV lifecycle are not well understood. We are studying several of these unique ORFs more closely using modern gene editing techniques to generate mutants of the virus that lack these ORFs. By comparing the infection phenotypes of these mutant viruses to those of normal KSHV infections we will be able to characterize the roles these region play in the KSHV lifecycle with the hope of uncovering novel therapy targets.

Message to Sponsor

This has been the greatest learning experience of my life. I have never felt more empowered to learn and explore a topic of my interest than during this summer. I have been inspired to continue researching in my lab this fall with the hopes of publishing my work within a year. This opportunity has reassured my desire to continue in academia after I graduate and earn a PhD in Immunology. Hopefully my work will help elucidate more about the nature of herpes viruses and we can move closer to curing this life-long disease. None of this would have been possibly without your generous funding. Thank you.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology: Immunology
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Experience
  • Mentor: Fenyong Liu