The main research area in Dr. Gao’s laboratory has been on viral oncogenesis with current focus on Kaposi’s sarcoma-associate herpesvirus (KSHV) and AIDS-related malignancies. In addition to studying virus infection, replication, latency and virus-host interactions, the lab has engaged in a multidisciplinary effort, and expanded the research program into translational and cancer therapeutics, cancer metabolism, microbiota, inflammation, angiogenesis, innate immunity, and microRNAs. The lab has applied state-of-art approaches and technologies in genomics, epigenetics, RNA epigenetics, metabolomics, high-throughput genomic screening, high-throughput drug screening, and systems biology to tackle these forefront biomedical issues. In particular, the lab has recently invested in drug screening and discovery as a result of the identification of new therapeutic targets and development of new model systems for infections and cancers. Dr. Gao’s laboratory is well supported by extramural funding. There are currently 6 active R01s and 1 Sub-project of an active PPG. Here are some of the ongoing research directions and projects:
1. Drug screening and discovery: The lab has developed several cancer and infection models, and used them in Crispr-Cas9 mediated genome-wide screening and drug screening. The lab has already identified numerous new targets and agents, which have been shown to be effective in both in vitro and in vivo models. Ongoing works are to validate some of these targets and agents in other types of cancer.
2. Systems biology: The lab has been engaging in works in epigenetics, RNA epigenetics and metabolomics in cancer and infections.
3. Infections, inflammation and innate immunity: The lab continues to study microRNAs, inflammation, angiogenesis, innate immunity and infections.