Research Bench Lab
Vera Tarakanova, PhD

Vera Tarakanova, PhD



  • Microbiology & Immunology
    BSB B2350

Contact Information

General Interests

Virus-associated Tumorigenesis , Virus-host Interactions


PhD, Microbiology, Saint Louis University
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Washington University

Research Experience

  • Ataxia Telangiectasia
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Cholesterol
  • Gammaherpesvirinae
  • Germinal Center
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-1
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-3
  • Interferons
  • Liver X Receptors
  • Macrophages
  • Protein Kinases

Research Interests

I have a long-standing interest in virus-host interactions, particularly as it applies to cancer-associated viruses. Our current research focuses on gammaherpesviruses. Gammaherpesviruses infect >95% of all humans and the infection is never cleared. Importantly, gammaherpesviruses drive the development of several malignancies, including lymphomas. While it is clear that not every infected human will develop virus-driven lymphoma, the risk factors for viral lymphomagenesis remain poorly defined and it is next to impossible to predict individual’s risk of developing gammaherpesvirus-driven cancer, a knowledge gap we aim to tackle.

Our research group utilizes the mouse gammaherpesvirus-68 (MHV68) model to study the entire spectrum of virus-host interactions: from viral and cellular molecular mechanisms using cultures of primary immune cells to chronic infection of an intact host to viral pathogenesis. Our group’s research interests are broad and interdisciplinary and span several fields, including molecular and cellular biology, signaling networks, animal models of viral infection and disease, innate and adaptive immune responses, and metabolism. Our trainees become highly sought-after interdisciplinary scientists, with the training supported by numerous external and internal collaborations.