Department: Cell Research and Immunology
Faculty: Life Sciences
Tel Aviv University

Prof. FRENKEL Niza

Research Interests

Molecular biology of herpesviruses that infect man; the use of viral vectors in gene therapy and vaccination. Study the herpes simplex viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2 which cause facial and genital infections, and the human Herpesviruses 6 and 7 (HHV-6 and HHV-7) which cause mild to life threatening diseases in children and in bone marrow and kidney transplantations .

Current research projects:

  • Molecular mechanisms of herpesvirus replication and gene expression
  • Disease associations of the lymphotropic Human herpesviruseses 6A, 6B and 7 (HHV-6A, HHV-6B and HHV-7).
  • Derivation of herpesvirus vectors towards their use in gene therapy and vaccination.
  • Molecular Virology: Studies of viral DNA replication and packaging;
  • Virus-host cell interactions including HSV-1 host shutoff by mRNA degradation;
  • HHV-6A & HHV-6B induced cell stress and suicidal functions leading to apoptosis;
  • Alternations of cellular pathways and cell cycle arrest;
  • Activation of immune response in viral infections; viral miRNAs.
  • Disease association: Collaborative studies with clinical centers concerning life threatening HHV-6B reactivation in bone marrow and kidney transplantations; Infections in children with central nervous system complications.
  • Gene therapy: Development of HSV vectors for gene therapy of brain tumors employing mouse model systems; HHV-6 vectors for Leukemia/lymphomas; HHV-6 vectors towards potential vaccination against HSV infection and HIV-1/AIDS; development of anti-cancer vaccination.