Graduate Students

Michael Lagunoff

The Lagunoff lab is interested in how viruses cause cancer.  In particular they focus on the etiologic agent for Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS), KS-associated herpesvirus (KSHV or HHV-8).  KS is an endothelial cell proliferative disease and their studies examine how KSHV alters host endothelial cells and how this might lead to KS tumor formation.  Because KS is highly vascularized with huge amounts of angiogenesis, the Lagunoff lab focuses on alterations in angiogenic pathways.  They have found that KSHV induces endothelial cell differentiation of blood endothelium to lymphatic endothelium and also activates angiogenic responses by activation of the hypoxic pathway through HIFs.  In addition, they are interested in KSHV induced alterations of oncogenic signaling pathways.  They found that KSHV infection leads to persistent activation of STAT3 and other signaling pathways known to be involved in tumor cells.