The Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences
Ronit Sarid is a member of the faculty of Life Sciences. Her main research field is viruses and her training includes MSc and PhD studies at Tel Aviv University on lentiviruses and retroviruses, and two post-doctoral fellowships on different human herpesviruses. Her current research focuses on human herpesvirus 8, also termed Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), and on the development of novel nanoparticle-based antiviral therapies.
KSHV is etiologically linked to all types of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), which is known as angiogenic and inflammatory cancer. KSHV is a prerequisite for KS, yet most KSHV-infected individuals never develop KS suggesting that additional factors affect the risk of KS development. Risk factors for the disease are not yet clear, though it has been established that active virus replication and high viral loads are required for the onset of KS. Of note, few cases of familial clustering of KS were documented suggesting that genetic susceptibility to KS, together with KSHV infection, might explain the development of the disease.
The Sarid lab studies different aspects of KSHV infection, including functional characterization of selected viral genes, host-virus interactions, depiction of cellular alterations that take place during virus infection and identification of signaling pathways that participate in the control of the infectious cycle. These studies are expected to identify host factors and gene variants that potentially promote the development of KS. Her studies are expected to reveal new regulators and mechanisms which govern KSHV infection and disease development. A similar strategy can be applied to screen for host genes that regulate other viral infections.