My laboratory is interested in finding ways to prevent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections from developing into liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). HCV infections affect large numbers of people, and many infections progress to liver cancer. Our research is directed at activating the innate immune system, which is also linked to pathways that destroy cells, called apoptotic mechanisms. We use small RNA molecules to activate innate immune responses, and experiments are directed at determining if apoptotic responses are also activated. By using small RNAs to activate innate immunity and apoptosis, it may be possible to deliver a double attack to HCV-infected cells that could destroy infected cells before they can progress to cancerous cells.