Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous beta-herpesvirus that establishes lifelong latency in the host. Despite few clinical features in healthy individuals, HCMV can cause significant morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised hosts and is the most common infectious cause of congenital birth defects. In addition, repeated cycles of HCMV latency and reactivation may be a contributing factor to many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. We are currently studying how HCMV infection alters signal transduction pathways that regulate host cell metabolism and the consequent effects on cellular differentiation. Understanding how the virus alters the host metabolome to promote viral replication could lead to novel therapies to prevent HCMV-related disease.
Tulane Cancer Center
Dr. Sullivan received her B.S. (1984) and M.S. (1988) degrees in biology/microbiology from Southeastern Louisiana University. She earned her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from Tulane University Health Sciences Center in 1999 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, studying the role of HIV Tat-induced angiogenesis in the development of Kaposi's sarcoma in 2001. Dr. Sullivan joined the faculty of Tulane University Health Sciences Center as a research assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 2001. Her research is focused on the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer in response to inhaled environmental agents. She is also interested in the use of stem cells as cell therapy to aid in the repair of injured lung and as vehicles to deliver therapeutic genes for the treatment of lung cancer.
- Molecular virology
- Molecular mechanisms of HCMV pathogenesis
Molecular Mechanisms of Pulmonary Fibrogenesis
The broad interest of our laboratory is to characterize the biochemical and molecular mechanisms that mediate fibroproliferative lung disease and lung cancer. We are using the well-characterized inhaled asbestos model of lung injury as a paradigm for inducing the initial events that lead to fibrogenesis after a single exposure or carcinogenesis upon continued exposure. We are also exploring the potential of adult stem cells to ameliorate lung injury through cellular differentiation and growth factor/cytokine secretion.
- Relationship between cytomegalovirus infection and age-related diseases
- Stem cell biology
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