Graduate Students

Denise Galloway

The Galloway laboratory studies the role that human papillomaviruses (HPVs) play in human cancers.  There is general agreement that a group of at least 12 HPVs that infect the genital tract cause lesions that can progress to cervical and other anogenital cancers.  The E6 and E7 genes of the HPVs are consistently expressed in the tumors, and together efficiently immortalize primary human epithelial cells in culture.  The Galloway lab has shown that these genes target the tumor suppressors p53 and pRB, respectively, for proteosomal degradation, resulting in genetic instability.  Their current efforts focus on determining the mechanism by which E6 is able to induce telomerase activity.  Their working model is that E6 promotes degradation of a repressor of hTERT transcription, and also recruits a post-transcriptional activator.  More recently they have begun to study another group of HPVs, known as genus beta HPVs, that they propose have a role in squamous cell carcinomas of the skin (SCSC).  Although the E6/E7 oncoproteins of these viruses fail to target p53 and Rb, they block the apoptotic response to UV damage, at least in part by degrading the pro-apoptotic regulator, Bak.  The Lab studies the disruption of apoptosis, and other potentially oncogenic properties of the beta HPV E6/E7 proteins.