Rochester Scientist Gives Keynote Address to Young Researchers

June 01, 2005

            Howard J. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for basic research at the University of Rochester Medical Center, recently gave the keynote address at the annual meeting of the National Student Research Forum at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

            Students from dozens of medical schools around the country made research presentations at the meeting, which is planned and managed by students for their peers in the health sciences. Federoff spoke with the researchers about the importance of research making its way from the laboratory to the bedsides of patients.

            Federoff’s own work has implications for a variety of human diseases, including AIDS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and cancers of the liver, pancreas, and blood. He has pioneered the use of a harmless form of the herpes virus as a new way to create vaccines against many of these diseases; several of the vaccines, including those against AIDS and Alzheimer’s, have shown promise in initial testing and are in further development. He has founded a company, AmpliVex LLC, to commercialize the discoveries, and holds several patents related to the use of herpes to gain pinpoint control over genes in the nervous system.

            Federoff also founded the Parkinson’s Disease Gene Therapy Study Group, an effort funded by the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS) to pull together experts around the nation to evaluate the most promising strategies to fight the disease. Meanwhile, in the laboratory, his group has discovered many of the molecular steps that occur as Parkinson’s progresses and causes widespread damage to the brain.

            A professor of Neurology, Medicine, and Microbiology & Immunology, Federoff is director of the University’s Center for Aging and Developmental Biology and the Nathan Shock Center for Excellence in Aging Research. He received his master's, doctoral and medical degrees from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and did his internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School.

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