Penny Clarke, PhD

Dr. Clarke’s interests include viral-induced apoptosis and signaling pathways. She has demonstrated that reovirus-induced regulation of the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) is required for the apoptotic cell death of virus-infected cells. Reovirus-induced apoptosis thus requires both an early phase of activation and a later phase where the activation of NF-kB is blocked. Dr. Clarke has also shown that activation of both c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and that c-Jun transcription factor are also associated with reovirus-induced cell death. In addition, work performed by Dr. Clarke has demonstrated that reovirus-induced apoptosis is mediated by TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL), which binds to cell surface death receptors DR4 and DR5 resulting in the FADD-dependent activation of cellular caspases. Finally, Dr. Clarke has shown that reovirus can sensitize cells, including cell lines derived from a variety of human cancers, to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by a mechanism that involves an increase in the activation of caspase 8.