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Human Oncogenic Viruses: Nature and Discovery

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm


Yuan Chang, M.D.
American Cancer Society Research Professor
Distinguished Professor, Dept. of Pathology
Chair of Cancer Virology
University of Pittsburgh


Our laboratory performs basic and applied research on viral oncogenesis with efforts focused in the following three areas. 

Merkel cell carcinoma and Merkel cell polyomavirus. We recently discovered a new human polyomavirus, that we call Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV). This virus is etiologically associated with a rare, but one of the most clinically aggressive skin cancers in humans. We are currently involved in the primary characteristics of this virus including transcript mapping, transforming properties, origin replication, transmission, and seroepidemiologic studies.

Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. We are investigating biologic properties of KSHV, the eighth human herpesvirus, also identified in our laboratory. KSHV causes Kaposi’s sarcoma, the most common AIDS-associated malignancy as well as a B-cell lymphoma. Through extensive molecular piracy, the virus has incorporated numerous genes which affect cell proliferation pathways, apoptosis, cell cycle regulation and immune modulation. 

New Pathogen Discovery. We continue to be interested in the search for new pathogens in human diseases and have developed new methodologies, which utilize information gained from the Human Genome Project, as well as advanced sequencing technologies.

The page was last updated on Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 10:09am