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Jason Diaz, Ph.D.

Jason Diaz, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Dr. Diaz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Ithaca College. He completed an Honors Thesis under Dr. Marina Caillaud that investigated whether endosymbiotic bacteria drove pea aphid host-plant preference in wild aphid populations in the Ithaca area. He then attended the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology, with a focus on virology, under the guidance of Dr. Jianxin You. His thesis work explored the molecular regulation of a newly discovered human tumor virus that causes the extremely lethal skin cancer Merkel Cell Carcinoma. He remained at Penn as a Penn-PORT postdoctoral fellow where he trained both as a science educator and also as a plant biologist. His scientific studies during this time explored cellular factors involved in protein movement between cells in plant roots. During this time he also developed an interest in developing science curriculum that incorporated the humanities including politics, psychology and sociology.

In 2017 Dr. Diaz joined the Integrated Science, Business, and Technology program at La Salle where he develops coursework that explores the field of biotechnology. His present courses include foundational ISBT coursework including both semesters of the SEA-PHAGES collaboration and Living Systems II. His more advanced coursework includes Tissue Culture, Special Topics courses and Capstone. He is also interested in collaborative coursework with other departments including the Biology/ISBT Life Sciences Innovation course.

Areas of Expertise

  • Genetics
  • Cancer Biology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology and Virology


  • The University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. Cell and Molecular Biology, 2014
  • Ithaca College, B.S. Biochemistry, 2009


  • Science Discovery – Phage Hunting I and II
  • Living Systems II
  • Tissue Culture
  • Life Sciences Innovation
  • Capstone I and II
  • Special Topics: A History of Synthetic Genomes


J Diaz, M MacDonald, J You. “Chapter 9: Merkel Cell Polyomavirus – new kid on the block.” DNA Tumor Viruses: From Molecular Virology to Novel Therapeutic Strategies (In press)

J Diaz, K Rich, S Munie, CR Zoch, JL Hubbard, AS Larsen. “Reactivity of electrophilic Cp*Ru(NO) complex towards alcohols.” Polyhedron (2016) 114: 435-442

J Li, J Diaz, X Wang, SH Tsang, J You.  “Phosphorylation of Merkel Cell Polyomavirus Large T Antigen at Serine 816 by ATM Kinase Induces Apoptosis in Host Cells.”  J Biol Chem (2015) 290: 1874 – 84

J Diaz, X Wang, SH Tsang, J Jiao, J You.  “Phosphorylation of Large T Antigen Regulates Merkel Cell Polyomavirus Replication.” Cancers (2014) 6: 1468 – 86

J Li, Q Li, J Diaz, J You.  “Brd4-Mediated Nuclear Retention of the Papillomavirus E2 Protein Contributes to its Stabilization in Host Cells.”  Viruses (2014) 6: 319 – 35

J Li, X Wang, J Diaz, SH Tsang, CB Buck, J You.  “Merkel Cell Polyomavirus Large T Antigen Disrupts Host Genomic Integrity and Inhibits Cellular Proliferation.”  J Virology (2013) 87: 9173 – 88

J Yan, J Diaz, J Jiao, R Wang, J You.  “Perturbation of Brd4 Protein Function by Brd4-NUT Protein Abrogates Cellular Differentiation in NUT Midline Carcinoma.”  J Biol Chem (2011) 286: 27663 – 75

International Aphid Genomics Consortium.  “Genome sequence of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum.” PLoS Biology (2010) 8: e1000313

J Masland, J Diaz, S Eady, E Lobkovsky, A Larsen.  “Hexakis(acetonitrile-kN)ruthenium(II) bis-(hexa-bromo-carbododeca-borate) acetonitrile solvate.” Acta Crystallogr Sect E Struct Rep Online(2010) 66: m325-6

Employment History

2017 – Present, Assistant Professor of Integrated Science, Business and Technology, La Salle University

2015-2017, Penn-PORT Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania