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Research Projects and Internships


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Student Research

Studies with Human Papillomavirus

Jo Ellen Bennett, Melissa Fullerton, and Julia Wicke

Friends and fellow Belmont Honors students, Jo Ellen Bennett, Melissa Fullerton, and Julia Wicke decided to study Human Papillomavirus (HPV) for their Honors Thesis work under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Thomas. HPV infection is associated with cervical cancer and two viral proteins, E6 and E7, have been shown to contribute to the transformation of normal cells into cancerous ones. Jo Ellen, Melissa, and Julia, examined if these viral proteins played an additional role in cancer progression with events such as metastasis, drug-resistance, and angiogenesis. They cultivated human cells using a tissue culture model of cervical cancer and analyzed these cells, by Western analyses, for expression of proteins associated with cancer progression. They found that HPV viral proteins do alter expression of cellular proteins, potentially contributing to cancer progression.