Date of Award

Spring 2017

Thesis Type

Rollins Access Only

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Kasandra Riley

Committee Member

Jay Pieczynski

Committee Member

James Patrone


The Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) causes a variety of different cancers including Burkitt's Lymphoma (BL), Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC), and Gastric Carcinoma (GC), in a small fraction of primarily African and South East Asian populations. However, the precise correlation between the viral infection and the cancers it causes has not yet been established. Hope for clarification came in the recent discovery of a new class of genes expressed by EBV called microRNAs (miRNAs). MiRNAs are short 22 nt non-coding RNAs that downregulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. This project attempts to determine whether EBV microRNAs (miRNAs) target multiple human transcripts in the inflammatory NF-kappaB pathway. Through bioinformatic techniques and luciferase assays, significant downregulation (p<0.01) was established for three transcripts in the NF-kappaB pathway: IRAK1, MAP3K14 and IL1A. Further experimentation must be conducted to observe downregulation of the endogenous expression levels of the respective proteins and to understand the downstream consequences of the target protein downregulation.