My lab investigates how human papillomaviruses (HPV) contribute to cervical cancer. HPVs are small DNA tumor viruses that cause warts on the skin and in the anogenital tract. There are over 100 different types of HPV, however, a subset are termed “high risk” because infection with one of these types is the major risk factor for cervical cancer.
My research uses cell culture and animal models to study the interaction between HPVs and their natural target, the cervical epithelial cell. I study two related questions. (1) How does HPV perturb the normal function of epithelial cells in ways that contribute to cancer? (2) How does the host respond to HPV infection?
My lab is particularly interested in understanding how epithelial cells contribute to the innate and adaptive immune response to HPV. I am currently working on three related projects.