Elizabeth A. White, Ph.D.

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Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery
Full Member (Research), Abramson Cancer Center, Tumor Virology Program
Trainer, Tumor Virology Training Grant (Institutional T32)
Trainer, Executive Committee Member, Virology Training Grant (Institutional T32)
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
William Blakely, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Pushkal Ramesh, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Molly Patterson, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Leah Graham, B.S., Research Specialist
Kevin Xu, Research Assistant
Abigail Salancy, Research Assistant

Selected Publications

Hatterschide J, Bohidar AE, Grace M, Nulton TJ, Kim HW, Windle B, Morgan IM, Munger K, White EA: PTPN14 degradation by high-risk human papillomavirus E7 limits keratinocyte differentiation and contributes to HPV-mediated oncogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 116(14): 7033-7042, Apr 2019.

White EA: Manipulation of Epithelial Differentiation by HPV Oncoproteins. Viruses 11(4): E369, Apr 2019.

White EA, Munger K: Crowd Control: E7 Conservation Is the Key to Cancer. Cell 170(6): 1057-1059, Sep 2017.

Evans MR, James CD, Bristol ML, Nulton TJ, Wang X, Kaur N, White EA, Windle B, Morgan IM: Human Papillomavirus 16 E2 Regulates Keratinocyte Gene Expression Relevant to Cancer and the Viral Life Cycle. Journal of Virology 93(4): e01941-18, Feb 2019.

Bentley P, Tan MJA, McBride AA, White EA, Howley PM: The SMC5/6 Complex Interacts with the Papillomavirus E2 Protein and Influences Maintenance of Viral Episomal DNA. Journal of Virology 92(15): e000356-18, Jul 2018.

Chiang C, Pauli EvaK, Biryukov J, Feister KF, Meng M, White EA, Münger K, Howley PM, Meyers C, Gack MU: The Human Papillomavirus E6 Oncoprotein Targets USP15 and TRIM25 To Suppress RIG-I-Mediated Innate Immune Signaling. Journal of Virology 92(6): e1737-17, Feb 2018.

Cheng J, Park DE, Berrios C, White EA, Arora R, Yoon R, Branigan T, Xiao, Westerling T, Federation A, Zeid R, Strober B, Swanson SK, Florens L, Bradner JE, Brown M, Howley PM, Padi M, Washburn MP, DeCaprio JA. : Merkel cell polyomavirus recruits MYCL to the EP400 complex to promote oncogenesis. PLoS Pathogens 13(10): e1006668, Oct 2017.

White EA, Münger K, Howley PM: High-Risk Human Papillomavirus E7 Proteins Target PTPN14 for Degradation. mBio 7(5): e1530-16, 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. Journal of Virology 90(16): 7032-7045, Jul 2016.

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.

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Last updated: 03/26/2024
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