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Research interests

My laboratory examines the relationship between viral oncogenesis and host immunity using unprecedented applications of molecular imaging of novel transgenic mouse models of human cancers. Tumors arise in complex microenvironments including stromal cells and immune mediators with cross talk among signaling pathways, cytokines, chemokines, and blood vessels. While the cancer promoting elements within the tumor microenvironment are valuable therapeutic targets, their characterization requires the interrogation of tumor-host interactions in immune competent animal models. The Tax oncogene carried by the Human T-cell Leukemia Virus promotes inflammation and tumorigenesis in vivo. My postdoctoral work included development of transgenic mouse strains and utilization of small molecules designed to produce bioluminescence in response to Tax expression. We used non-invasive bioluminescent imaging to identify inflammatory lesions that preceded spontaneous tumorigenesis by independently monitoring inflammation and oncogene expression in vivo. We are currently examining pathways of inflammation and oncogenesis and translational approaches in i) prostate carcinoma, ii) osteosarcoma, and iii) leukemia / lymphoma.


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