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Smith Receives Burroughs Wellcome Award

October 11, 2005

CHICAGO --- Gregory A. Smith, assistant professor of microbiology/immunology at   Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has been selected a recipient of a 2005 Investigators in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

The five-year, $400,000 award, which honors Dr. Smith as well as the Feinberg School, was based on the scientific excellence and innovation of his proposal, the strength of the scholarly environment at the institution and Smith’s accomplishments as an independent researcher.

Smith’s project is titled  “Coordination of Herpesvirus Assembly and Transport in Axons of Sensory Neurons.”  His research   focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which herpesviruses move within neurons, and thereby spread within the nervous system.

Herpesvirus invasion of the peripheral nervous system results in life-long infections that reside in sensory neurons. These viruses typically persist in a dormant state, but periodically reactivate and travel in axons to reemerge at body surfaces. In rare instances, viruses follow axons into the central nervous system, resulting in severe encephalitis. The determinants of disease outcome are unknown.

He is the author of many scientific articles and a manuscript reviewer for a number of prestigious scientific journals, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Cell Science and Virology.

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