Dr. Rosemary Rochford receives the Henle Award for major contributions to Epstein-Barr virus research

Dr. Rosemary Rochford, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Colorado School of Medicine
2024 Henle Award Winner Rosemary Rochford, PhD, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Rosemary Rochford, PhD, Professor Emerita of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Colorado, has been chosen as the 2024 recipient of the prestigious Henle Award from the Board of the International Association for Research on Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Associated Diseases.

This award recognizes internationally renowned scientists that have made major contributions to the understanding and/or treatment of EBV and associated diseases.

Spread through bodily fluids, EBV is one of the eight known human herpesviruses, best known for causing infectious mononucleosis. It is also the first human virus discovered to have oncogenic properties and is associated with Burkitt’s lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), gastric carcinoma, Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

As the Henle award winner, she is invited to deliver a prize lecture at the International Symposium on EBV & KSHV & Related Agents and Diseases – 3rd Joint Meeting in Boston, June 29-July 3, 2024, which will take place on the 60th and 30th anniversaries of the discoveries of EBV and KSHV, respectively, and will be presented with a commemorative plaque.

Brief Bio

Dr. Rosemary Rochford is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado. She earned her PhD in 1989 from the University of California, Irvine working under Dr. Luis Villarreal studying murine polyomaviruses. She started her research on EBV as a post-doctoral fellow at the The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla California. Dr. Rochford has held faculty positions at the University of Michigan, SUNY Upstate Medical University and University of Colorado. Dr. Rochford served in several academic leadership roles including Chair of Microbiology and Immunology and Vice President for Research at SUNY Upstate Medical University.  

Throughout her career, her research interests have been on persistent viruses and how they can emerge to cause disease. Her research on the role of EBV in the etiology of Burkitt lymphoma has been funded through the US National Institutes of Health since 2004. She has pursued her research questions on EBV both in the US and in partnership with scientists at the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kisumu, Kenya. The results of those studies have revealed a complex multi-step interaction with P. falciparum malaria that starts early in life, disrupts stable persistence of EBV and drives oncogenic transformation.

What the Henle award means to me:

I am deeply honored to receive this award. I have been passionate about the study of EBV and understanding the link between EBV and Burkitt lymphoma. Receiving this award is a wonderful recognition from my peers of the importance of my research and a tribute to the efforts of all the trainees I have had who have contributed to this work. 

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