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"Building a Healthy Tomorrow"  TM

Kensuke Hirasawa

BioMedical Sciences
PhD University of Tokyo

Associate Professor of Immunology

Division of Basic Medical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
Memorial University of Newfoundland 
300 Prince Philip Dr. St. John's, NL  A1B 3V6
t: Tel: 777-8291

My research is focused on understanding interaction of cellular signalling pathways and viral replication. Cellular signalling pathways serve to relay extracellular information to the nucleus of the cell. These signals control cellular functions such as proliferation, differentiation, migration and death.  An increasing number of reports suggest that viruses manipulate and activate cellular signalling pathways during infection, thereby promoting their replication. My laboratory is currently investigating the involvement of cellular signalling pathways in virus replication from two independent aspects: interruption of interferon (IFN)-induced antiviral responses by the Ras/Raf/MEK pathway and promotion of viral internal ribosomal entry site (IRES)-mediated translation under stress conditions. The research outcomes will provide new insights into how cellular signalling environment affects virus infection as well as how we can develop novel antiviral drugs that target cellular signalling pathways beneficial for viral replication.


Current Lab Members

Dr. Sherri Christian  (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Maria Licursi (Graduate Student)

Dong Zu (Graduate Student) 

Dianne Codner (Research Associate)

Paul Crocker (Undergraduate Student)

Julie Whitten (Undergraduate Student)

Lab Alumni

Thaddeus Collier (Graduate Student>>Biology instructor at the College of North Atlantic)

Sarah Battcock (Undergraduate Student>>Medical School at Memorial)

Chris Hough (Research Associate>>Graduate Student at Memorial)

Research Grants

CIHR operating “Interaction of interferon-induced antiviral responses and Ras signalling pathways (2005-2008)

Breast Cancer Society of Canada “Oncolytic virotherapy for tamoxifen resistant breast cancer” (2005-2007) 

Canadian Foundation for Innovation “in vitro and in vivo studies for virus infection and cellular signalling pathways”

NSERC-Discovery Grant “Viral IRES-mediated translation under stress conditions”  (2006-2011)

Recent Publications

Battcock SM, Collier TW, Dong Z and Hirasawa K. Negative regulation of the alpha interferon-induced antiviral responses by the Ras/Raf/MEK pathway. (2006) J. Virol. 80(9):4422-4430

Popadiuk C, Xiong J, Wells M, Andrew P, Dankwa K, Hirasawa K, Lake B and Kao KR. Antisense suppression of Pygopus2 results in proliferative growth arrest of epithelial ovarian cancer. (2006) Clinical Cancer Research 12:2216-2223.

Norman KL, Hirasawa K, Yang AD, Shields MA, Lee PW. Reovirus oncolysis: the Ras/RalGEF/p38 pathway dictates host cell permissiveness to reovirus infection. (2004) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 101(30):11099-104.

Loken SD, Norman KL, Hirasawa K, Nodwell M, Lester WM, Demetrick DJ. Morbidity in immunosuppressed (SCID/NOD) mice treated with reovirus (Dearing 3) as an anti-cancer biotherapeutic. (2004) Cancer Biol Ther. 3(8) 734-8.

Hirasawa K, Jun HS, Han H. and Yoon JW. Involvement of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in the replication of encephalomyocarditis virus. (2003) J. Virol., 77(10):5649-56.

Hirasawa K, Nishikawa SG, Norman KL and Lee PWK.  Effective systematic reovirus therapy of metastatic cancer in immune-competent mice. (2003) Cancer Res., 63(2):348-53.

Alain T, Hirasawa K, Pon KJ, Nishikawa SG, Urbanski SJ, Auer Y, Luider J, Martin  A, Johnston RN, Janowska-Wieczorek A, Lee PWK and Kossakowska AE. Reovirus therapy of lymphoid malignancies. (2002) Blood, 100(12):4146-53.

Norman KL, Coffey MC, Hirasawa K, Demetrick DJ, DiFrancesco LM, Strong JE and Lee PWK. Reovirus oncolysis of human breast cancer. (2002)  Hum. Gene. Ther. 13 (20) 641-52.

Hirasawa K, Nishikawa SG, Norman KL, Alain T, Kossakowska AE and Lee PWK. Oncolytic reovirus against ovarian and colon cancer. (2002)  Cancer Res. 62 (6) 1696-701.