Bernard Roizman, Sc.D., the world's leading expert on herpes simplex virus (HSV), and Joseph Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor in the departments of molecular genetics & cell biology and biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago, has been named the winner of the eighth annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Infectious Disease Research. Dr. Roizman mapped the genome of HSV, described how the virus infects host cells and later developed recombinant DNA techniques that have enabled him and others to determine the role of specific genes in viral infection and replication. Dr., Roizman's work has laid direct ground for current efforts to develop a vaccine against HSV, as well as for gene therapies and anti-cancer treatments that employ altered forms of the virus.
"Bernard Roizman's studies of herpes viruses over the past three to four decades have largely defined this field," says Peter Palese, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Microbiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "He has been and remains a towering figure and intellectual force in virology and in biological science in general."
"Dr. Roizman's contributions to both our knowledge of viruses and the science of genetic engineering have been fundamental," says Richard Colonno, vice president, Infectious Disease Drug Discovery, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. "He exemplifies the qualities that the Bristol-Myers Squibb award is meant to honor."
In the late 1950s, Dr. Roizman pioneered in purifying the DNA of HSV and describing its unique structure. One of his most important findings was that gene sequences in HSV differ in unrelated people, but are identical in related people with the virus.
**With Genetic Fingerprints, Dr. Roizman Creates "Molecular Epidemiology"