Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Claudia A. Rivera Cifuentes, PhD

Endogenous retroviruses are viral elements of the human genome derived from retroviral infections of distant ancestors. Recent findings support the idea that these elements can cause immune system activation and inflammation. However, the crosstalk between endogenous retroviruses and the gut microbes that control immunity within the gut-and how abnormalities in this dialogue lead to inflammatory disorders-is not well understood. Further, although endogenous retroviruses have been proposed as potential targets for immunotherapy, we lack a mechanistic understanding of their interactions with the gut microbiota and how these interactions influence cancer development. Dr. Rivera Cifuentes [Lorraine W. Egan Fellow] aims to uncover how multi-kingdom interactions in the gut control intestinal health and colorectal cancer development. This work may have important clinical implications for the treatment of gut inflammatory disorders and gastrointestinal cancers. Dr. Rivera Cifuentes received her PhD from the University of Paris, Paris and her BSc from The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Santiago.


Project title: "Endogenous retroviruses modulation of intestinal immune homeostasis and tumor development"
Institution: National Institutes of Health
Named Award: Lorraine W. Egan Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Yasmine Belkaid.PhD and Michail Lionakis, MD, ScD
Cancer Type: Colorectal
Research Area: Basic Immunology