Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Mandy M. Muller, PhD

Dr. Muller [HHMI Fellow] is examining Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), a virus associated with lifelong infections. A healthy immune system keeps the virus in check; however, in immunocompromised individuals, KSHV is associated with a number of malignances, including Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and multicentric Castleman’s disease (MCD). KSHV dramatically manipulates the intracellular gene expression environment of its host cell. The defining characteristic is a near-global depletion of cytoplasmic mRNA called “host shutoff.” This process is orchestrated by SOX, a viral enzyme. How SOX is directed to its target mRNAs remains unknown. The goal of this research is to mechanistically delineate how SOX hijacks host factors to dampen gene expression. Her results should reveal key principles governing RNA fate and shed light on how this process is pivotal during oncogenic viral infection.

Project title: "Widespread RNA destruction and selective preservation during viral infection"
Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Named Award: HHMI Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Britt A. Glaunsinger, PhD
Cancer Type: Other Cancer, Sarcoma
Research Area: Virology