Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes about 4 per cent of human cancers worldwide. It can lead to cervical and anogenital cancers, and is even associated with an alarming increase in cases of oropharyngeal cancer. While vaccines offer some protection, their use remains low in some parts of the world. To prevent cancer from progressing in HPV-infected tissue, there is an urgent need to understand how the virus promotes both cancer development and the way cells respond to treatment.
As Canada Research Chair in Molecular Virology and Genomic Instability, Dr. Amélie Fradet-Turcotte aims to decipher the mechanisms by which HPV rewires host cells’ response to DNA damage and how these processes help cells adapt to replication stress. She and her research team are using a blend of innovative approaches in proteomics, bioimaging, cell biology and biochemistry to look for answers. Their work will support the development of treatments for HPV-driven diseases.