News about Toth lab & our collaborators

2018 Summer

Graduated! Congratulations to Juan, Katherine and Thomas from the Toth lab; as well as Naeem from the Papp lab. We are glad to have Juan staying in the Toth lab, and Thomas joining the Papp lab as laboratory research assistants after their graduation.

Several of us attended the International Conference on EBV & KSHV 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin, where we had both poster and oral presentations about our ongoing studies. It was a great meeting!

Congratulations to James! He was awarded with the UF dental student research seed grant. This seed grant will support James’s research project for one year in our lab, which focuses on viral immune evasion. James is developing adenovirus delivery systems, which he will use to express KSHV proteins in oral epithelial cells to test their function in oral infection.

We are also welcoming an expert virologist, Nenavath Gopal Naik in the lab, who is joining our lab as a postdoctoral associate this August. Welcome to the University of Florida!

2018 April

Key event last month was the AADR Annual Meeting (American Association for Dental Research) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. James represented our lab at AADR, a prestigious annual dental conference: James pursued his research project in our lab culminating in the summer research program. James is now a 1st year DMD/PhD student and he remains to be involved in our group’s research program.  In total, this was already the 3rd conference for James in less than a year of dental school. As described below, James also won the Spring Synergy Poster award for his poster presentation. Great accomplishment, James!

Congratulations to Aria Sharma, who is a 3rd year research track dental student. Aria has been co-mentored by Dr. Papp and Dr. Toth in her more than 2 years long research project: Aria has been awarded with “Research Honors” by the UFCD Research Committee. This award can be received by exceptionally dedicated dental students, who have substantively contributed to a research project during their tenure in dental school, and are subsequently nominated in their third or final year by their faculty mentors. These nominations are carefully reviewed, the accomplishments evaluated by the Committee. The student nominees can be awarded based on the long-term continued effort of the student in research as evidenced by their conference presentations. Aria will receive her award in a Ceremony in the Senior Banquet next year, in 2019.  Congrats to both Aria and her co-mentors Dr. Papp and Dr. Toth! Last week, Aria has presented her research findings at the annual UFCD Spring Synergy conference:

Overall, Spring Synergy event is very important for all of us, since it gives a great overview of all the interesting research topics in our Dental School. It also gives a chance to students to select their possible future host labs to join for research projects, and if they are interested in a topic, they can also personally interact with dental students-graduate student-postdocs-faculty in those fields. Our lab together with Dr. Papp’s team have been represented by 4 posters at this event: presented by Aria, Gavin, Richard and James. Congrats to all of you! Many people viewed their posters, and Gavin and James have been awarded “Excellence in Research” and “Spring Synergy Poster” awards for their excellent ongoing work.

Every year during the Spring Synergy, the “AADR Student Research Day Award” is awarded to one of the many presenters from UF College of Dentistry.  This year,  Gavin from our lab was chosen to receive this special honor based on his PhD project and excellent poster at the Spring Synergy. Congrats Gavin! As part of the award, Gavin and his research will be highlighted on the AADR website and program book and he also got a prestigious travel award to attend the next year AADR annual conference (2019 IADR / AADR / CADR General Session & Exhibition) in Vancouver, Canada.

This was indeed a productive semester for us: Congrats to all our lab members who presented their ongoing research this year: Gavin, James, Richard, Juan, Katherine, Thomas, Kyra and congrats also to our collaborators from the Papp laboratory: Aria and Naeem!  

2018 March

Naeem Juan at UF-UndergradConf_2018Spring time means conferences at UF: Last week, we have attended the student presentations and learned about the inspiring diverse portfolio of undergraduate research done at UF, as presented by the several hundred dedicated undergraduate students at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium. Juan from our lab and Naeem from our collaborator Dr. Papp’s team presented their  research projects with great success! Many students and researchers visited their posters, to find out about their exciting discoveries and innovative research approaches. Thanks for representing our research programs at UF!

Both Juan and Naeem are about to finish their undergraduate studies at UF. – it was great to have both of you with us for these past several semesters as undergraduate researchers! Good luck for your next chapters!

Naeem is going to attend dental school at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. Congratulations Naeem to your Dental School acceptance at UFCD! Great seeing that you selected UFCD … of course, right? After your amazing time here with us – it must have been easy! … Naeem has been pursuing his research project with Dr. Papp, as his faculty mentor since 2017 January, under the Emerging Scholars program at UF. If you are interested, there are plenty of research programs for motivated undergraduates at UF. You can read about these great opportunities here:

UF Emerging Scholars Program

2018 Feb

It was great to see the progress and hard work of our undergraduate students in the last year since they started working with us.  On February 24-25th  Juan, Kathrine, Kyra, and Thomas from the Toth laboratory, together with Naeem from our collaborator Dr. Papp’s team have presented their undergraduate research studies at the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference  (FURC). This conference was held at the Eastern Florida State College this year. FURC is one of the nation’s largest multi-disciplinary research conferences. It is an annual event open for all undergraduate researchers in the state of Florida to present their research in a poster forum:

2018 Florida Undergraduate Research Conference

Congrats to all our undergraduates! Keep up the hard work! UFCDundergrads_atFURC2018

2017 Oct

Congrats to James Seung Jin Jang for his achievement! James was selected as one of the two dental students who will represent UFCD at the Annual Hinman Student Research Symposium (2017), at the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry. James has just presented his research on the Symposium, which focused on viral interferon regulatory factors of KSHV.  James has worked in our lab since last September.  James has started his DMD/PhD studies this Fall.

2017 Sep

Katherine GlickmanWe are glad to have a new member in the lab. Katherine Glickman started working with us in the lab since August. Katherine is enrolled at a special program called “Innovation Academy” at the University of Florida. As we learned quickly, she is an enthusiastic and highly motivated undergraduate student. Welcome in our lab, great to have you with us!


2017 Aug

The summer is almost over … our group was very busy during the summer: Dr. Toth and Dr. Papp presented the lab’s new collaborative genomics-based study on the EMBO Epigenetics & Infection conference in Paris. This newly organized exciting EMBO conference brought together researchers with various background (microbiology / immunology / signaling / epigenetics) stimulating new ideas for our research as well.

As listed below, the lab underwent significant changes over the past months, as new students joined our team: We are also excited to announce that we have our 1st PhD student joining the lab: Gavin Golas, a 4th year PhD student. Welcome to the lab, Gavin! GavinGolasGavin is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences (IDP) with Microbiology & Immunology concentration.  Further information about this great program can be found here:

PhD program – IDP Immunology & Microbiology Concentration

Gavin has started his graduate studies in the laboratory of Dr. Shannon Wallet in the Department of Oral Biology in 2015. Gavin has developed a strong background and deep interest in the field of immunology and viral sensing mechanisms by the epithelium. After starting in the Toth lab in August, Gavin will continue to pursue his interest in viral immune evasion mechanisms, while switching to our excellent viral infection model system (KSHV infection in the oral epithelium). Gavin is continuously supported by an outstanding Training Grant in Oral Biology, which was awarded to UFCD. The Oral Biology Training Program is described here:

UFCD Oral Biology Training Program

2017 July

James has completed the UFCD Summer Research Program and successfully presented his research project. James is now starting as a DMD/PhD student at UF. Good luck with your dental school studies!  James, we are grateful for your extremely hard work and dedication to the lab in the past 11 months! Great job! Fortunately, James remains associated with the lab as a volunteer research student during his dental studies. Hope to see you coming back full time to the lab as a PhD student in ~3 years!

In the meantime, 3 new highly motivated undergraduate students started in the lab this summer: Kyra, Juan and Thomas. Welcome to the lab! Good luck with your research projects!

Kyra Senchyshak

Juan Alonso

Thomas Hong Nguyen


2017 June

Richard Smindak

Dr. Richard Smindak has joined the lab in June as a  postdoctoral research associate. Congrats to your recent successful PhD defense at the University of Virginia! Glad to have you join the lab, Richard!




2017 May

Congrats to James! James has been accepted to the  UFCD “Summer Research Program”.  James is working on his KSHV research project in the lab as a student until starting as a DMD/PhD student in the Fall, here at UFCD. James will present his research findings in an oral presentation at the end of this program, in July. This excellent Program allows incoming students to gain research experience with a UFCD faculty mentor before starting the dental school.


2017 March



Aria Sharma, our UFCD research-track dental student travelled to Ambato, Ecuador this spring break on a dental mission trip with faculty and students from the UF College of Dentistry. The group was able to provide both prophylactic and emergent care for nearly six hundred residents.

2017 Feb

James just got accepted to University of Florida joint DMD/PhD program!  CONGRATS James!   He will start his studies in Fall – but until then, we are glad he is here and progressing well on his exciting KSHV project. We hope to see you back in the lab in the future!

2017 Jan

Aria Sharma (2nd year dental student in UF College of Dentistry) has joined the Toth lab recently, as part of a collaborative team effort between Dr. Toth and Dr. Papp. Aria has been working together with Dr. Papp since last summer. Aria is an excellent, committed dental student with previous research background. Welcome to the lab!

Aria is now accepted to the UF DMD Research Track Program. CONGRATS Aria! Aria is starting her own project focusing on KSHV oral infection in the lab and will be working with us for the next 2 years. Aria will be co-mentored by Dr. Toth and Dr. Papp during her study. She is a great asset to our research program. If you are interested in such research programs, check out here:

UFCD DMD Research Track info…

2016 Dec

We are looking for collaborators and motivated students to work with us on our new collaborative KSHV cellular transcriptional reprogramming projects (Toth lab with reprogramming & genomics expert collaborator Dr. Bernadett Papp, also a new faculty at UF). Check out further information about the research program of Dr. Papp:

Dr. Bernadett Papp – research program info …

The team is growing: Dr. Papp has recently started to work with a great motivated undergrad from UF, Naeem Motlagh, who is going to pursue a project about the role of a KSHV protein in transcriptional reprogramming of the host cells during reactivation. Welcome to our team, Naeem!

Naeem has been awarded to become a “UF Emerging Scholar”. CONGRATS Naeem! 

We are always looking for motivated undergrads who are interested in participating in our research and would like to join similar programs! Check out the info about the program here:

info about UF Scholar Programs can be found here…

2016 Sep

The lab is growing:  James and Paul join the lab as research assistants. They are bringing complementary expertise to the lab. We are very excited to have you starting with us. Welcome to the lab!

2016 Aug

Lab renovations are done, we are all moved in. Our new fully equipped lab is ready:

2016 June

Our laboratory is officially open!  DAY 1….

We are at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry (UFCD, Department of Oral Biology). You can read more about us at:

Zsolt Toth’s laboratory: further info


Our new paper revealing the role of viral protein LANA in recruitment of cellular repressors to KSHV genome during infection – is now accepted in PLoS Pathogens!

Click here to read our publication…