Research Mentor(s): John Brenner, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Otolaryngology, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 5 (3pm-3:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 17
My project focuses on developing precision medicine for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Many HNSCC tumors are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. E7, an HPV protein, has proven to occasionally change the expression of certain genes in HPV positive tumors. My project aims to analyze RNA expression patterns to determine what triggers HPV-mediated gene regulation. We collect RNA from patient-derived cell lines and generate a complimentary DNA (cDNA) sample. We then use the process of qPCR to replicate the cDNA and measure the CT value. This value quantifies RNA expression where a low CT value implies higher amounts of RNA in the original sample meaning increased transcription of our gene of interest. Finally, we will use a script written in R Code to create a summary table of qPCR data along with a graph of CT values. We have already generated, and verified using qPCR, cell lines that express HPV genes. We expect that the expression of the HPV E7 gene will decrease the expression of the HLAA, HLAB, and HLAC genes, all of which are needed for an antiviral and anti-tumor immune response. By measuring the effect HPV genes have on the transcription of immune response genes, we will be able to understand the mechanism by which HPV evades the immune system. As of now, treatments for HNSCC are similar to those for the majority of cancer types. This research will help develop treatment tailored to HNSCC which can hopefully improve recovery for afflicted patients.