Daisy Theobald

Revealing the role of cellular non-coding RNAs in human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in oral keratinocytes

About me

I obtained my MBiol in Biological Sciences from the University of Leeds in 2022. During my masters year I undertook a project on the dysregulation of host signalling pathways within Human papillomavirus (HPV) driven cervical cancer, supervised by Professor Andrew Macdonald. I enjoyed this experience, which encouraged me to apply for my PhD within the same lab group. 

My project

Historically, research into HPV-driven oropharyngeal cancers has been overshadowed by cervical cancers, due to their public health burden. However, HPV has now overtaken smoking as the leading causative agent behind oropharyngeal cancers, particularly in males who, until recently, were ineligible for the HPV vaccination. Therefore, understanding the signalling pathways important for promoting HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers is essential. Non-coding RNAs have emerged as critical components within HPV-positive cervical oncogenesis, each performing an array of functions to propagate the acquisition of the cancer hallmarks. Yet, the non-coding landscapes between HPV-positive cervical and oropharyngeal cancers differ significantly. My project aims to identify host non-coding RNAs manipulated by HPV to promote the progression of carcinogenesis specifically within the oropharynx. This will be carried out using a multidisciplinary approach.