Professor of Pathology, and Microbiology and Immunology
Associate Chief of Experimental Pathology
Medical Director, Jake Gittlen Cancer Research Foundation
Immunology and infectious diseases, skin cancer, heterogeneity of skin stem cells;
Skin stem cells, interfollicular epidermis cells, host-virus interaction
insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), epidermal growth factors (EGFs)
Skin cancer, papilloma
Focus Groups: Immunomodulatory; Integumentary;
Research description: Basic/Translational
The overall research theme in Dr. Neil Christensen’s laboratory is studies on immunity and pathogenesis of papillomavirus infections. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection causes hyperproliferative lesions in cutaneous and mucosal epithelium. A proportion of these HPV infections have been shown to progress to malignancies of the uterine cervix. The major sub-projects include: 1) characterization of viral capsid neutralizing epitopes; 2) vaccine development; 3) analysis of T-cell recognition of viral epitopes on virus-infected papilloma cells; 4) papilloma virus animal model systems; 5) model systems to test for anti-viral compounds, and 6) methods to propagate human papillomaviruses. Current goals are to test both protective and prophylactic vaccines using animal models of papillomavirus infections. Our more recent studies include identification of host receptor molecules involved in papillomavirus uptake and internalization, and the development of a transgenic animal model to study the role of HLA Class I in papillomavirus immunity.
Technical expertise: immunology; monoclonal antibodies;
- Cladel NM, Budgeon LR, Balogh KK, Cooper TK, Hu J, Christensen ND. Mouse papillomavirus MmuPV1 infects oral mucosa and preferentially targets the base of the tongue. Virology. 2016 Jan 15; 488:73-80.
- Brendle SA, Christensen ND. HPV binding assay to Laminin-332/integrin a6ß4 on human keratinocytes. Methods Mol Biol. 2015; 1249:53-66.
Lei F, Zhao B, Haque R, Xiong X, Budgeon L, Christensen ND, Wu Y, Song J. In vivo programming of tumor antigen-specific T lymphocytes from pluripotent stem cells to promote cancer immunosurveillance. Cancer Res. 2011 Jul 15; 71(14):4742-7.