University at Albany - State University of New York

5th Annual Hogarty Family Foundation Lecture

Viruses, Parasites and Cancer: Tales from a cancer researcher in Africa

by Rosemary Rochford, Ph.D.

Rosemary Rochford picture
  • Vice President for Research, SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Research Foundation Operations Manager
  • Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

About the Speaker

Dr. Rochford received her doctorate and early postdoctoral fellowship training at the University of California at Irvine. She did a second postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla California, and was a staff scientist at Scripps and faculty at the University of Michigan before coming to Upstate in 2003. She became Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 2007 and Vice President for Research in 2013.

She has been awarded over $4 million dollars in NIH funding in the last decade to support her research on Burkitt’s lymphoma. She is the author of over 60 peer-reviewed publications, not counting her book chapters and invited reviews. She has served on NIH and DOD study sections.

Her research is focused on understanding how heterologous infections impact development of immunity and disease and specifically how malaria modulates Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. Dr. Rochford utilizes molecular epidemiologic studies based in Kenya as well as a mouse model to uncover the cellular pathways connecting EBV and malaria. These two pathogens are linked to the etiology of endemic Burkitt’s lymphoma, the most common childhood cancer in Equatorial Africa. Her experience working in Kenya has highlighted the need to develop therapies that are suitable for cancer treatment in resource poor areas of the world.

Dr. Rochford is also involved with development of a model to test hemolytic toxicity of anti-malaria drugs using humanized SCID mice. This work is funded through the Department of Defense and Medicine for Malaria Venture and is part of a large collaborative effort between Upstate, the Center for Natural Products in Mississippi and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.