Post-Doctoral Fellow

Ph.D.: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Mentor: Craig Forrest
Lab: Biomed I Room 512/516
Email: smowens@uams.edu


Research Description:

My Ph.D. research at UAMS focused on gammaherpesvirus interactions with host germinal center responses during latent infection. I am continuing my work in the Forrest lab as a UAMS Translation Research Institute (TRI) Health Science Innovation and Entrepreneurship (HSIE) Post-Doctoral Scholar.

Gammaherpesviruses (GHVs) are DNA tumor viruses that establish a lifelong chronic infection in B lymphocytes. Infection by human GHVs such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi sarcoma-associated virus (KSHV) place individuals at risk of developing cancers, including Burkitt lymphoma, Hodgkins lymphoma, primary effusion lymphoma, and Kaposi sarcoma, among others. Currently no vaccines exist for GHVs and greater than 90% of adults are infected with EBV, highlighting the importance of understanding viral pathogenesis and disease. My research focuses on GHV latency-associated gene products and viral manipulation of the host adaptive immune response. Through my work we aim to delineate viral mechanisms that derail the host germinal center reaction, this work provides the foundation for development of vaccination strategies and identification of potential viral and host targets for therapeutics.



Owens S, Oldenburg D, White D, Forrest JC. Deletion of Murine Gammaherpesvirus Gene M2 in AID-Expressing B Cells Impairs Host Colonization and Viral Reactivation. JV. Oct 2020, JVI.01933-20; DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01933-20

Wongsurawat T, Gupta A, Jenjaroenpun P, Owens S, Craig Forrest J, Nookaew I. R-loop-forming Sequences Analysis in Thousands of Viral Genomes Identify A New Common Element in Herpesviruses. Sci Rep. 2020;10(1):6389. Published 2020 Apr 14. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-63101-9