Expertise: Viruses including HIV and Ebola; Stem Cells and Gene Therapy; Hematopoietic Stem Cells; CRISPR/Cas9
Paula Cannon, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Microbiology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, where she leads a research team that studies viruses, stem cells and gene therapy. She obtained her PhD from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and received postdoctoral training as an HIV scientist at both Oxford and Harvard universities. Although HIV remains the main focus of her work, she also studies highly pathogenic hemorrhagic fever viruses, including Ebola and Lassa fever viruses. Cannon has a long-standing interest in the development of gene therapy as a clinical approach to treating HIV infection, and her recent work in this area is aimed at disrupting the viral co-receptor, CCR5, using zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs). This approach is being evaluated in human hematopoietic stem cells to address whether such a therapy could result in a “functional cure” for AIDS patients. Cannon’s research is funded by both the National Institutes of Health and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.