Elizabeth A. White, Ph.D.

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Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery
Department: Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Department of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery
203C Johnson Pavilion
3610 Hamilton Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-746-6380
B.A. (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
Dartmouth College, 2001.
Ph.D. (Biology)
Unversity of California, San Diego, 2007.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
We study the molecular biology of human papillomaviruses, focusing on how these viruses cause cancer and evade immune detection.

Human papillomavirus, tumor virus, cancer virology, transformation, innate immunity, HPV

Research Details
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection causes 5% of cancer cases worldwide, and HPV infection is the cause of all cervical cancer, some oropharyngeal cancer, and other cancers. Papillomaviruses are extraordinarily diverse, and fewer than fifteen of the >200 known HPVs are oncogenic. My research is focused on understanding the mechanisms by which HPVs manipulate the host cellular environment to evade immune responses and sometimes cause cancer.

HPV-mediated transformation: Our previous proteomic and transcriptional analyses identified many HPV targets in human cells. One of these, PTPN14, is a non-receptor tyrosine phosphatase that is specifically targeted for degradation by the oncogenic HPVs. We are working to understand the nature of PTPN14 and other targets in HPV-infected and uninfected cells and to determine the mechanistic basis by which PTPN14 degradation might contribute to carcinogenesis.

HPV modulation of innate immune responses: Although only a handful of the HPVs are oncogenic, all of them encode proteins that alter the regulation of host immune signaling. Our systematic studies also identified many new HPV targets that appear to be involved in changing immune responses in infected cells. We plan to validate these targets and extend these studies to include systematic analyses of the mechanisms by which oncogenic and non-oncogenic HPVs evade immune detection.

We are a collaborative, enthusiastic research group interested in using molecular biology, cell biology, and systems approaches to understanding HPV-host interactions and cancer.

Rotation Projects
Projects are available in each of these broad areas. Please contact Dr. White for details.

Lab Personnel
Joshua Hatterschide, B.S., CAMB-MVP Graduate Student
Emily Kim, B.S., Postbaccalaureate Student
Metthew Lam, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow

Selected Publications

White EA, Munger K.: Crowd Control: E7 Conservation Is the Key to Cancer. Cell 170: 1057-1059, 2017.

White EA, Münger K, Howley PM: High-Risk Human Papillomavirus E7 Proteins Target PTPN14 for Degradation. mBio 7(5): 5, Sep 2016.

Rouleau C, Pores Fernando AT, Hwang JH, Faure N, Jiang T, White EA, Roberts TM, Schaffhausen BS: Transformation by Polyomavirus Middle T Antigen Involves a Unique Bimodal Interaction with the Hippo Effector YAP. J Virol 90(16): 16, Jul 2016.

White EA, Kramer RE, Hwang JH, Pores Fernando AT, Naetar N, Hahn WC, Roberts TM, Schaffhausen BS, Livingston DM, Howley PM: Papillomavirus E7 oncoproteins share functions with polyomavirus small T antigens. J Virol 89(5): 2857-65, Mar 2015.

Vieira VC, Leonard B, White EA, Starrett GJ, Temiz NA, Lorenz LD, Lee D, Soares MA, Lambert PF, Howley PM, Harris RS: Human papillomavirus E6 triggers upregulation of the antiviral and cancer genomic DNA deaminase APOBEC3B. mBio 5(6): 2045, Dec 2014.

White EA, Walther J, Javanbakht H, Howley PM: Genus beta human papillomavirus E6 proteins vary in their effects on the transactivation of p53 target genes. J Virol 88(15): 8201-12, Aug 2014.

White EA, Kramer RE, Tan MJ, Hayes SD, Harper JW, Howley PM: Comprehensive analysis of host cellular interactions with human papillomavirus E6 proteins identifies new E6 binding partners and reflects viral diversity. J Virol 86(24): 13174-86, Dec 2012.

Tan MJ, White EA, Sowa ME, Harper JW, Aster JC, Howley PM: Cutaneous β-human papillomavirus E6 proteins bind Mastermind-like coactivators and repress Notch signaling. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(23): E1473-80, Jun 2012.

White EA, Sowa ME, Tan MJ, Jeudy S, Hayes SD, Santha S, Münger K, Harper JW, Howley PM: Systematic identification of interactions between host cell proteins and E7 oncoproteins from diverse human papillomaviruses. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(5): E260-7, Jan 2012.

Smith JA, White EA, Sowa ME, Powell ML, Ottinger M, Harper JW, Howley PM: Genome-wide siRNA screen identifies SMCX, EP400, and Brd4 as E2-dependent regulators of human papillomavirus oncogene expression. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(8): 3752-7, Feb 2010.

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Last updated: 06/15/2018
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