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Cameron Appointed Berg Professor of Biochemistry

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Craig E. Cameron, the Louis Martarano Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State, has been named the Paul Berg Professor of Biochemistry at Penn State. The professorship was created in 1995 by an anonymous donor in honor of Paul Berg, a 1948 Penn State graduate who was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1974 and earned a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1980 for developing a method to map the structure and function of DNA.

Cameron's research has focused on developing novel strategies to treat or prevent RNA-virus infection. His initial work with poliovirus polymerase led to the discovery of an alternative mechanism of action for ribavirin, the only broad-spectrum antiviral nucleoside. Cameron has discovered ways to make use of ribavirin's alternative mechanism of action to alter a gene in a way that makes it unable to function, a process known as lethal mutagenesis. This work has paved the way for the development of lethal mutagenesis into a general antiviral strategy. Studies of lethal mutagenesis performed in collaboration with Raul Andino, of the University of California in San Francisco, have led unexpectedly to the discovery of a strategy for development of safer poliovirus vaccines that may extrapolate to all RNA viruses.

Cameron’s research accomplishments have been recognized with many honors, including an Established Investigator Award from the National Research Committee of the American Heart Association in 2003 and a Howard Temin Award from the National Cancer Institute in 1997. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Microbiology, and the American Society for Virology. He is a member of the Education and Professional Development and Minority Affairs committees for the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He currently serves on the Molecular Genetics A study section for the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health. He is on the editorial boards for Journal of Biological Chemistry and Journal of Virology. He has published 52 articles in scientific journals, as well as 8 book chapters.

Cameron earned his bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, in chemistry and mathematics at Howard University in 1987. He earned his doctoral degree in biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University in 1993 and served as a postdoctoral fellow there, also during 1993. He was a National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Penn State from 1994 to 1997. He joined the faculty at Penn State in 1997 as assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. In 2002, he was promoted to associate professor and named the Louis Martarano Career Development Associate Professor. He was promoted to professor in 2005.

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