Nancy Raab-Traub, UNC-Chapel Hill, to give the Elliott Kieff Lecture at EBV-KSHV Joint Meeting

Nancy Raab-Traub, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Microbiology & Immunology UNC-Chapel Hill Virology, Elliott Kieff Lecture
Nancy Raab-Traub, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Microbiology & Immunology UNC-Chapel Hill Virology, Elliott Kieff Lecture
Nancy Raab-Traub, PhD, Sarah Graham Kenan Professor Emeritus, Microbiology & Immunology UNC-Chapel Hill Virology, Elliott Kieff Lecture

Area of Interest

I study the role of the Epstein-Barr Virus in cancer with special focus on nasopharyngeal and gastric carcinoma. Our previous studies discovered a family of highly spliced RNAs that had not been identified in transformed lymphocytes. We determined that these RNAs were the template for 44 miRNA within the introns. We went on to show that the spliced forms remained in the nucleus and function as long non coding RNAs. We have now determined that during growth of EBV infected cell lines as tumors in SCID mice only these RNAS are expressed. Additionally these RNAS have transforming abilities in cultured cells. Future studies will focus on these properties. Additionally we have shown that EBV infected cells produce exosomes that transfer viral proteins and RNAS. We are interested in determining how these exosomes influence HPV infected cells.

Find publications on PubMed

Awards and Honors

  • Norma Berryhill Distinguished Lecture, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2022
  • National Cancer Advisory Board
ELLIOTT D. KIEFF, MD, PHD, Brigham And Women's Hospital
Elliott D. Kieff, MD, PhD, Brigham And Women's Hospital

Dr. Elliott Kieff *January 4, 2024
Professor of Microbiology, Harvard University, USA

Elliott Dan Kieff, MD, PhD, a renowned Virologist and Infectious Disease doctor, passed away in Chicago on January 4, 2024.  A leading scholar in the field of Human Virology, Elliott made seminal discoveries concerning the mechanisms by which Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) causes infectious mononucleosis and contributes to human malignancies, improving science and global public health.

Born in Philadelphia to Florence Kieff, a teacher in the Philadelphia Public Schools, and Irving Kieff, JD, an eventual Deputy Attorney General for Pennsylvania, Elliott graduated
in Class 214 from Central High School in 1961. Elliott graduated with a BS in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. He and Jacqueline (Silverman) were married at the Beth Sholom Congregation synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, in
1965. They moved to Baltimore where he graduated with an MD from Johns Hopkins University in 1968. They then moved to Hyde Park in Chicago so he could follow his mentor, Bernard Roizman, ScD, to the University of Chicago to pursue his residency training.

Elliott and Jacqueline raised their three children in Hyde Park and both graduated from the University of Chicago with PhDs; Elliott’s in microbiology in 1971, and Jacqueline in psychology in 1983. Elliott served in the US Army and was honorably discharged in 1975 as a Captain, after completing assigned duties domestically; and he later long enjoyed serving on the US Army Science Board. While at the University of Chicago, Elliott built the Infectious Disease program and began his Laboratory working with Epstein Barr Virus, ultimately becoming the Louis Block Professor of Microbiology.

In 1987, Elliott and Jacqueline moved to Brookline, Massachusetts, where he joined Harvard University. There, he Chaired the Virology Program as the Harriet Ryan Albee Professor of Medicine and was the section chief for the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, roles he found tremendously fulfilling until his retirement. For much of their time in Brookline, Jacqueline and Elliott also loved spending weekends and summers with friends at their home near the water in Westport, Massachusetts. In 2019, he moved with Jacqueline back to Chicago to receive care. Elliott loved his work. Even more, he loved to mentor, teach and collaborate with students and colleagues around the world, and to serve on many government, foundation, university, and private-sector boards and committees. He is remembered as kind, curious, dogged, playful, and whip smart. He delighted in the pursuit of knowledge and solutions to problems, from the scientific to the practical. Elliott was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He could often be seen doing home renovations and gardening, or hosting parties with Jacqueline, or out and about swimming, jogging, playing squash and tennis, or reveling in an anytime ice cream cone. His communities of Brookline, Westport, and Hyde Park will miss his gusto.

Over his career, Elliott authored over 300 journal articles and chapters in 27 books. His work was recognized with numerous awards and election to professional and academic societies including the Ricketts Award at the University of Chicago, and election to the Association of American Physicians in 1985 where he served as President from 2008-2009, the National Academy of Sciences in 1996, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society in 1997, the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) in 2001, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2002.

Elliott is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jacqueline S. Kieff, PhD; their three children, David Kieff, MD, (Lauren), of Newton, Massachusetts, Scott Kieff, JD, (Rebecca), of Washington, DC, and Elizabeth Kieff, MD, (Tom), of Chicago; his five grandchildren, Monica Gottlieb Kieff, DDS,(Martin) Benjamin Kieff, Asher Levinson, Estelle Levinson, and Evan Kieff; his brother, Nelson Kieff, JD, Major, US Army, Retired. his brother-in-law, Ronald Silverman, DDS, Major General, US Army, Retired, his sister-in-law, Miriam Silverman, JD; and by his many students, colleagues, and friends.