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Charles A. Evans, Ph.D. (1912-2008)
Carleen Collins, Ph.D.



Tactics of new Middle East virus suggest treating by altering lung cells' response to infection

The Erasmus virus resets 207 genes in lung cells to hamper the cells' ability to launch an antiviral reaction. Available drugs might correct this sabotage.


Congratulations to Alistair Russell, Microbiology Graduate Student in the Joseph Mougous Lab, and recipient of the very prestigious DeKarman Fellowship from the Josephine DeKarman Fellowship Trust. This competitive fellowship recognizes students whose scholastic achievements reflect very high standards, as defined by the fellowship’s founder, Theodore von Karman. Less than 3% of the applicants meet the qualifications to receive this generous fellowship.

More information on the DeKarman Fellowship can be found here: http://www.dekarman.org/


Congratulations to Seemay Chou, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Joseph Mougous Lab, who received a career development grant from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). This grant is awarded to postdoctoral women with outstanding scientific accomplishments and potential for significant research in the area of Microbiology, and only three grants are awarded each year.

Further information on the ASM career development grant can be found here: http://www.asm.org/index.php/women-in-microbiology/121-whats-new/membership/1120-womens-career-development-grants

Congratulations to Mary Lidstrom, Professor of Microbiology and Chemical Engineering on her recent election to the National Academy of Sciences.

Congratulations to Houra Merrikh and Evgeni Sokurenko whose groundbreaking research on gene evolution is featured in UW Today:


and the April, 2013 edition of Nature:


and in the April 18, 2013 edition of the UW Daily: http://dailyuw.com/archive/2013/04/17/science/winning-evolutionary-race#.UXBFYXHgInV

Congratulations to Matthew R. Parsek, Professor of Microbiology, who has been elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiologists, a tribute and recognition of excellence in science.

Fellows of the AAM are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology.

Upcoming Seminars:

June 13, 2013, T-739 Health Sciences Building, 4:00 PM

Terri DiMaio, Ph.D.
Acting Instructor Candidate
Department of Microbiology
University of Washington

Endothelial cell activation by Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus

Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS) is a highly vascularized endothelial cell tumor caused by Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus (Human Herpesvirus-8). Although first described as an indolent tumor, it has since become associated with HIV-infected patients, where it has a more aggressive phenotype. KS tumors are made up of spindle cells, which are thought to be of endothelial origin. Because of the high vascularity of the tumors, we hypothesized that KSHV infection of endothelial cells induces changes in gene expression that lead to neoangiogenesis. We found that KSHV induces pro-angiogenic factors while inhibiting anti-angiogenic factors, tipping the balance to a pro-angiogenic phenotype. However, infection by KSHV does not transform endothelial cells, suggesting they may not be the cell type that seeds a KS tumor. KS spindle cells express markers of several different cell types, indicating they may arise from a less differentiated cell. In order to better understand the origin of the spindle cell, we have isolated circulating endothelial precursor cells. Surprisingly, we found that these cells express markers of either blood or lymphatic endothelium. Both types of precursors are susceptible to KSHV infection, however KSHV more efficiently infects lymphatic precursors, and confers a distinct growth advantage to these cells, compared to blood precursors. These results have important implications for the origin of KS spindle cells and the development of KS tumors.



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