Research in the D'Orso lab focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation and defining how these normal programs become deregulated during viral infections and disease states. One specific aspect is to elucidate how transcription factors (NF-κB) mediate rapid RNA Polymerase II transcription elongation when cells are exposed to environmental cues, and how aberrant transcription activation promotes disease states.

Another aspect is on the host-pathogen interaction between viruses and human cells at the molecular level, with particular emphasis on signaling and gene expression regulation. By understanding how viruses utilize host resources for their propagation, we hope to understand basic physiological processes as well as pathways that can be targeted for therapies.

Long-Term Goals

Our long-term goals are to understand mechanisms of transcription activation.

On the Viral Side

  • How HIV hijacks cellular resources to promote rapid viral transcription and replication?
  • What molecular rules dictate entry into viral latency and persistent infection?

On the Cellular Side

  • How NF-κB is precisely regulated in response to environmental stimulation
  • How derailed NF-κB transcriptional activity promotes malignancy