Joel Rovnak

Associate Professor Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology

312 Pathology

(970) 491-7579

About Joel

The primary intent of my research is the characterization of molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis, particularly where these mechanisms involve viral control of transcription and splicing. Current work is focused on functional analyses of an oncoprotein encoded by walleye dermal sarcoma virus (WDSV), and has lead directly to analyses of protein-protein interactions with cellular transcriptional coactivators in preinitiation complexes. This viral protein is able to differentially regulate host transcription through mechanisms in common with a number of viral oncogenes. Although this research is largely grounded in the current dermal sarcoma model, full investigation of the molecular mechanisms will extend beyond the scope of this virus to include the Tax proteins of bovine and human leukemia viruses, and DNA tumor virus proteins: SV40 Tumor antigens, adenovirus E1A/E1B, and papillomavirus E6/E7.


BS - Microbiology, Colorado State University, 1982MS - Microbiology, Colorado State University, 1989PhD, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1999


Chotiwan N, Brewster CD, Magalhaes T, Weger-Lucarelli J, Duggal NK, Rückert C, Nguyen C, Garcia Luna SM, Fauver JR, Andre B, Gray M, Black WC 4th, Kading RC, Ebel GD, Kuan G, Balmaseda A, Jaenisch T, Marques ETA, Brault AC, Harris E, Foy BD, Quackenbush SL, Perera R, Rovnak J.Rapid and specific detection of Asian- and African-lineage Zika viruses.Sci Transl Med. 2017 May 3;9(388).Brewster, C.D., C.H. Birkenheuer, M.B. Vogt, S.L. Quackenbush, and J. Rovnak. The Retroviral Cyclin of Walleye Dermal Sarcoma Virus Binds Cyclin-Dependent Kinases 3 and 8. Virology 409:299-307, 2011. Paul, T.A., J. Rovnak, S.L. Quackenbush, K. Whitlock, H. Zhan, Z. Gong, J. Spitsbergen, P.R. Bowser, and J.W. Casey. Transgenic Expression of Walleye Dermal Sarcoma Virus rv-cyclin (orf A) in Zebrafish Does Not Result in Tissue Proliferation. Marine Biotechnology. Mar 28 [Epub ahead of print], 2010.Rovnak, J. and S.L. Quackenbush. Walleye Dermal Sarcoma Virus: Molecular Biology and Oncogenesis. Viruses 2(9): 1984-1999, 2010.