BLOSSOM ANDREA DAMANIA, Ph.D.
Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts (Bachelor of Arts)
University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania (Ph.D.) 1998.
Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts (Postdoctoral
Assistant Dean of Research, School of Medicine, UNC-Chapel
Director of Translational Advancements and Basic
Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute,
Co-Leader, Virology Program, Lineberger Cancer Center, UNC-Chapel
Co-Director, Program in Global Oncology, Lineberger Cancer Center,
UNC-Chapel Hill 2011-present
Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, UNC-Chapel
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology,
Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology,
Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, 2013.
Kavli Fellow, National Academy of Sciences, USA. 2011.
Dolph O. Adams Award, Society for Leukocyte Biology, 2011.
UNC Ruth and Phillip Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly
Burroughs Wellcome Investigator in Infectious Disease, 2006-2011.
American Heart Association Established Investigator Award,
UNC Jefferson-Pilot Award in Faculty Medicine, 2005
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Scholar, 2005-2010.
Mount Holyoke College Mary Lyon Alumnae Award, 2005.
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Gertrude B. Elion
Research Scholar, 2004.
American Herpes Foundation Research Scholar Award. 2003.
V Foundation for Cancer Research Scholar Award. 2001-2003.
2009-present Associate Editor, PLoS Pathogens
2010-present Associate Editor, Frontiers in
2008-present Contributing Faculty Member of
Faculty of 1000, Biology. Virology Section of the
2005-2014 Editorial Board
Member for Journal of Virology
Board Member for Virology
2007-present Editorial Board member for The Open
2008-present Editorial Board member for
Infection and Drug Resistance
Permanent member of VIR-A study section (2009-2013)
The work in our laboratory is focused on understanding the
molecular pathogenesis of viral-associated cancers such
as Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV).
KSHV is associated with a number of human malignancies
including Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) and B cell
lymphoproliferative diseases such as multicentric
Castleman's disease and non-Hodgkin lymphoma i.e. primary
effusion lymphoma. Malignancies associated with KSHV
are usually (but not always) seen in the context of
immune-suppression i.e. in HIV-infected individuals and
transplant patients. KSHV belongs to the gamma-2
(rhadinovirus) grouping of herpesviruses. Herpesviruses
are characterized by their ability to persist in either a
latent or lytic phase in the host. In latent infection,
viral gene expression is limited and the viral genome
remains associated with the cell for many generations
without virus production. However, during the lytic phase
there is a temporal order of viral gene expression
resulting in the production of infectious viral progeny.
The mechanism by which KSHV induces cellular
transformation is currently unknown and our lab is focused
on understanding how the virus transforms cells and
persists in them. We also study basic cellular and viral
mechanisms that determine how KSHV is able to maintain the
latent and lytic phases of its lifecycle.
Specific projects are listed as follows:
•We study KSHV viral proteins that are involved in
cellular transformation and modulation of cell signaling
pathways. These studies involve investigating the effect
of viral proteins on cell proliferation, apoptosis and
cell signal transduction pathways.
•Kaposi’s sarcoma is a highly angiogenic tumor and we are
currently investigating how viral proteins encoded by KSHV
are responsible for the induction of angiogenesis.
•We study host-pathogen interactions, specifically
we are looking at how KSHV interacts with the innate
• Our lab studies viral transcription factors and how they
help the virus to replicate and persist in the host cell.
•We are developing therapeutics that curb viral
replication and prevent virus persistence. We are also
developing drug therapies that target cancer cells.
In this manner we hope to translate basic research into
•In addition, we work on the simian homologue of KSHV
named rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV). RRV shows high
sequence-relatedness to KSHV but unlike its human
counterpart can be grown lytically and to high titers in
cell culture. This facilitates the making of recombinant
viruses that allow us to study the properties of a number
of viral genes in the lifecycle of the virus. We use RRV
as animal model system to understand KSHV pathogenesis in
vivo and in vitro.
•Finally, we are using our knowledge on viral cancers to
understand how certain types of non-viral cancers develop
in the human population.
In summary, our lab is interested in the
study of viral oncogenes and viral transcription factors
of KSHV, host-pathogen interactions, innate immunity, and
using RRV as an animal model system to study KSHV
pathogenesis. The projects in our laboratory encompass the
areas of signal transduction, apoptosis, angiogenesis,
innate immunity, transcription and recombinant herpesvirus
production. We employ the latest techniques in molecular
biology, cell biology, immunology and biochemistry to
investigate key issues in viral oncogenesis.
We also direct a Program in Global Oncology through the
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC-Chapel Hill
to address the growing disparity in cancer incidence and
prognosis across the world, especially in developing
Please visit the following website for more information on
our global oncology program:
Please contact us if you are interested in
our research (email@example.com)