For the past several years I have devoted my research to pathogenic infectious agents that contribute to disease in humans. I studied Schistosomiasis that causes liver and bladder cancers, and may affect the eyes too. Later I focused on HIV studying the different subtypes and determining the virus effect on efficacy of children vaccines. This consortium work led to setting up of HIV antiviral therapy and vaccination standards in children. Adults with HIV infection develop dementia, later called HIV dementia. I studied the pathogenic events involved in the disease. This led to the revelation that some viral particles do cross the blood/brain barrier leading to production of inflammatory factors that have been associated with infectious agents and cancer. These findings led to my interest in studying the role of infectious agents such as HIV in initiation of cancer. The accepted dogma then, and in some cancers that are caused by infectious agents was that one virus or bacteria was involved.
My belief was that more than one agent was involved and that they interact in different levels to initiate the disease. Studying Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia (OSSN), I showed that contrary to the belief then that only HPV was involved, EBV, KSHV were also involved, and possible other pathogens that have not been identified, though I identified other pathogenic sequences in the OSSN tissues. Thus, our work has shown the association of the pathogenic viruses with ocular cancers that will have an impact on translational medicine. With the latest technology we are beginning to find that other pathogens may also be involved, and the interaction of these pathogenic oncogenes as they usurp the pathways in cell cycle is of considerable significance to us. We are interested in deciphering the processes involved in autophagy, apoptosis, and epigenetic changes after viral infection that leads to pathogenesis and eventually cancer. In the past century research drove discovery, diagnosis, therapy, and vaccine development of several diseases. Currently, technology is driving science and leading to fast pace discovery of new diseases and how to treat them, mainly contributed by the Human Genome Project.
We will continue to identify pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and fungi associated with cancer. We look forward to identifying the pathways the pathogens utilize to dysregulate normal cell functions that lead to pathogenesis. The interaction of the oncogenes involved and the pathways affected will be delineated. We are interested in deciphering the processes involved in autophagy, apoptosis, and epigenetic changes after viral, bacterial, and fungal infections that lead to pathogenesis and eventually cancer. In the past century research drove discovery, diagnosis, therapy, and vaccine development of several diseases. Dysregulation of the pathways have been shown to contravene communicable and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Currently, technology is driving science and leading to fast pace discovery of new diseases and how to treat them, mainly contributed by the Human Genome Project. Harnessing and utilizing the technology that is available to us will be key to breakthroughs in early diagnosis, new cancer therapies, and developments of cancer vaccines.