Koenraad M Van Doorslaer, PhD

Cancer Biology Program


Dr. Van Doorslaer recently joined the faculty of the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the University of Arizona. He later joined the Immunobiology faculty. Dr. Van Doorslaer also holds appointments within the BIO5 Institute, and the cancer biology and genetics GIDP. His current research combines thorough evolutionary analysis with state-of-the-art molecular techniques to understand why certain DNA viruses are oncogenic. His lab is particularly interested in a subset of human oncogenic papillomaviruses.

Cancer Focus

It is improbable that the ability to cause cancer provides papillomaviruses with an evolutionary advantage. It is likely that many of the viral functions linked to oncogenesis were evolutionarily beneficial as papillomavirus adapted to novel environmental niches on the host (e.g., external genitalia vs. cervix). Papillomaviruses have evolved to usurp the cellular machinery to complete their life-cycle. The papillomaviral lifecycle perturbs the normal differentiation cycle of the infected cell, forcing cells to divide far beyond their normal lifespan.