Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Andra Zhang Sciences

The Role of Viral Circular RNA kcirc38 in the Lytic Infection of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus

Scholars Journal

Kaposi’s Sarcoma Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) can establish lifelong latent infection where the virus remains dormant. However, for immunocompromised people, the latent infection can become lytic, where the virus takes over host cells to make more viruses, which could cause diseases such as cancer. Current drugs fail to treat people with latent infection and are harmful to humans. Recently, scientists identified new circular noncoding RNAs in KSHV, including kcirc38. In this study, Andra will investigate the role of kcirc38 in the lytic reactivation of KSHV. She will perform mutagenesis to a plasmid containing the KSHV genome and model lytic reactivation to see how kcirc38 affects transcription of genes important for lytic reactivation. Her study can enhance the understanding of KSHV lytic reactivation and inform the development of therapies for KSHV.
Photo of Andra Zhang
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Fenyong Liu, Public Health
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