|Undergraduate Institution:||Rochester Institute Tech|
My current research project is investigating the role of bacterial metabolic end-products on HPV pathogenesis in the context of head and neck cancer. Previously my research focused on the treatment of SiHa cells (HPV positive cervical keratinocytes) with spent media from periodontal pathogens (Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum) and testing the cells for changes in viral oncogene expression, increases in histone acetylation, and deregulation of various genes involved in normal cellular function. In the coming year I will use oral keratinocytes that are HPV-positive and expose them to P. gingivalis spent media to investigate the changes in oncogene expression, histone acetylation, and deregulation of cellular genes involved in cellular processes (i.e. differentiation and metabolism). During the Summer of this past year I treated cells with P. gingivalis spent media and isolated RNA that was then sent out, processed and enriched for small RNAs that were subsequently run on the Illumina next generation sequencing platform. After Janet Doolittle (a post-doctoral fellow in our lab) analyzes the sequencing data I will use it to look at various micro-RNAs that are deregulated by HPV and possibly by P. gingivalis to identify areas of synergy that may play an important role in immune system regulation/evasion by the virus and bacteria, in addition to viral oncogene production.