Mechanisms of Oncogenesis Program Co-Leaders

Rolf Renne, Ph.D.

Rolf Renne, Ph.D.

Rolf Renne, Ph.D., is the interim program co-leader of the Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO) program.

For nearly 13 years, Dr. Renne has served as a professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of molecular genetics and microbiology, studying the Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus — which has been his research focus since 1995. His laboratory uses genomics, genetics and ribonomics approaches to study how virally-encoded genes and microRNAs contribute to KSHV biology and tumorigenesis.

Dr. Renne received his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany. He performed most of his Ph.D. thesis work at UC Davis with Dr. Paul Luciw in the field of retrovirology. Next, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Don Ganem at UCSF where he contributed to early work on establishing tissue culture models for KSHV, which had recently been identified as the causative pathogen for Kaposi sarcoma in patients with AIDS.

In 1999, he joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University, where he focused on molecular aspects such as the role of the KSHV latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) in DNA binding and latent DNA replication. He established the only available Kaposi sarcoma xenograft model. In 2004, he moved to UF where his laboratory was one of four worldwide to sequence and identify KSHV-encoded microRNAs. 

The unifying goal of Dr. Renne’s research has been to achieve a deeper understanding of how latent gamma-herpesvirus gene products, including microRNAs and long noncoding RNAs, contribute to viral tumorigenesis of AIDS malignancies. His current focus is on epigenetic regulation of viral latency, and the role of long and small non-coding RNAs in viral biology. 

Dr. Renne has been continuously funded by multiple NCI grants since 2004. In 2017, he was awarded a multi-investigator NCI Program Project together with Scott Tibbetts, Ph.D., an associate professor at UF, and Erik Flemington, Ph.D., a professor at Tulane University.

He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Virology and Virology and has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed articles. In 2009, Dr. Renne co-chaired the 11th International Workshop on KSHV and related agents as well as the 40th International Herpesvirus Workshop in Boise, Idaho in 2015. He serves on multiple NIH special emphasis panels.

Daohong Zhou, M.D. 

Daohong Zhou, M.D.

Daohong Zhou, M.D., is program co-leader.

He is a professor in the Department of Pharmacodynamics at the College of Pharmacy and a Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the College of Medicine, University of Florida (UF) at Gainesville. He serves as the Associate Director for Translation and Drug Development and the Henry E. Innes Professorsip of Cancer Research at the UF Health Cancer Center. Dr. Zhou received his medical (1978-1983) and graduate (1983-1986) training from Yunyany Medical College of Tongji Medical University and Henan Medical University, respectively; and his postdoctoral training (1990-1992) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Before he joined UF in 2018, he was a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Deputy Director of the Division of Radiation Health at the College of Pharmacy and the Associate Director for Basic Research at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Dr. Daohong Zhou has published more than 100 peer reviewed scientific articles and book chapters. His research has been well supported by grants from various private and government funding agencies, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). Dr. Daohong Zhou serves on several national and international peer review panels and as a reviewer for various scientific publications. He was a regular member of the Radiation Therapeutics and Biology Study Section at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a co-chair of the Panel Meeting for General Program of the Dept. of Health Sciences (Hematology) at the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). He is a councilor of the Radiation Research Society and a co-founder of Unity Biotechnology, a biotech that develops senolytic drugs for aging and age-related diseases.