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Bernard Roizman, Joseph Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Virology at Viral Oncology Laboratories, The University of Chicago, will receive the 2017 Selman A. Waksman Award in Microbiology.
Over the past five decades, Roizman has made pivotal contributions to the scientific understanding of the mechanisms by which herpes viruses replicate and cause disease, and in the process his work has helped to improve human health. His research first identified viral herpes genes and proteins, as well as the structure of viral DNA, and defined the principles of herpes simplex virus gene regulation. He also constructed the first recombinant virus specifically targeted to malignant cells.
Using biochemistry, novel genetic strategies and cell biology, Roizman’s ongoing research focuses on how the herpes simplex virus, which has fewer than 100 genes, is able to take over a much more complex human cell, which contains more than 20,000 genes. This led to the first engineered virus, which has been used to study and target lethal tumors in humans.
Roizman’s role as a mentor has extended his research beyond his lab, with dozens of graduate student and postdoctoral fellows energizing the field of virology.
Supported by the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology, the Selman A. Waksman Award is presented to recognize a major advance in the field of microbiology.