Assistant Professor

Research Areas
Human papillomaviruses

Research Interests

Five percent of all human cancers are caused by infections with high-risk human papillomaviruses. Advanced cervical cancers do not respond well to existing chemo-radiation therapies. Despite the high efficacy of prophylactic HPV vaccines, a great majority of eligible young people domestically and globally are not getting vaccinated. Furthermore, these vaccines have no therapeutic efficacy against existing lesions. Safe, effective and inexpensive therapeutic agents are urgently needed. Since 2001, I have been investigating the functions of HPV E6 and E7 oncogenes in the differentiating epithelium in which the viral genome amplifies. Our research explores three major areas: (a) molecular characterization of host genes and proteins that regulate the amplification of HPV DNA during squamous epithelial differentiation; (b) validation of a Patient-Derived Xenograft (PDX) mouse model of cervical cancers; and (c) establishment of novel organoidraft cultures of primary cervical cancers as well as PDX tumor tissues as platforms for expediting antiviral drug screening and developing tools for personalized medicine.

Our studies revealed that HPV-18 E6 and E7 proteins induce robust changes in the transcription of a large number of host cell genes that regulate cell cycle, apoptosis, DNA damage response, and immune andi nflammatory pathways in experimental organotypic epithelial raft cultures of primary human keratinocytes. We deciphered how HPV oncogenes interfere with host keratinocyte homeostasis to enable S-phase re-entry in post-mitotic, differentiated cells. We elucidated the mechanism by which the virus promotes the transition from S-phase into a protracted G2-phase, enabling viral DNA amplification. Currently, we are evaluating small molecule inhibitors of S-phase progression, mTOR and DNA damage repair pathways on the productive amplification of HPV-18 DNA and the underlying mechanisms. Our goal is to validate the Tumor Organoid Raft Cultures and to combine this novel model with PDX models for rapid and economical preclinical screening of a multitude of inhibitors, singly and in combination.

{slide=Selected Publications}

L Kang, C Yao, A Khodadadi-Jamayran, W Xu, R Zhang, N Banerjee, C Chang, L Chow, T Townes, Kejin Hu*(2016) The universal 3D3 antibody of human PODXL is pluripotent cytotoxic, and identifies a residua lpopulation after extended differentiation of pluripotent stemcells. Stem Cells Dev. 25(7):556-568.

Collawn SS, Mobley JA, Banerjee NS, Chow LT(2016). Conditioned Media From Adipose-Derived Stromal Cells Accelerates Healing in 3-Dimensional Skin Cultures. Ann Plast Surg., Apr;76(4):446-52.



Graduate School
Ph.D., Bose Institute, University of Calcutta

Postdoctoral Fellowship
Bose Institute, University of Calcutta
University of Alabama at Birmingham


Office Location
McCallum Basic Health Sciences
Building Room509
1918 University Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35294-0005

(205) 975-8304


Committed to exploring new frontiers in basic and translational research.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics is an integral part of the vibrant biomedical research community at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). UAB ranks among the top public institutions of higher education in terms of research and training awards. Research conducted by the faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics is currently supported by more than $7.1 million per year in extramural, investigator-initiated grants.


The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics carries out cutting-edge basic and translational research. Research strengths in the department includes cancer biology, chromatin and epigenetic signaling, metabolism and signaling, regulation of gene expression, structural biology, DNA synthesis and repair, and disease mechanisms.


Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics are trained to carry out hypothesis-driven research using advanced research techniques. This training will prepare our graduates for a career in not just biomedical research, but also in other diverse fields that require critical thinking. Our faculty also proudly trains professional (MD, DDS, & DO) students, as well as undergraduate students at UAB.