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Craig E. Cameron: The Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina



Craig E. Cameron is the Chair of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Microbiology, among other organizations.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Howard University in 1987. There, he developed an interest in viruses such as rhinovirus, rhinitis, and coxsackievirus.

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He joined the Penn State faculty in biochemistry and molecular biology in 1997, following his doctoral studies in biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, which he completed in 1993, and postdoctoral studies in the chemistry department.

He was given tenure, promoted to associate professor, and named Louis Martarano Associate Professor in 2002. He was named Paul Berg Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2005 after being promoted to professor. Cameron was part of a Penn State team that received a $2.85 million National Science Foundation grant for K-12 students in 2010.

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The Cameron lab’s main goal is to develop strategies for treating or preventing RNA virus infections. As primary model systems, he used poliovirus and hepatitis C virus (HCV). His expertise in virology, biochemistry, and mechanistic enzymology brings to the study of RNA viruses a unique combination of intellectual and technical resources. His initial concentration was on viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp).

He was particularly interested in the kinetic, thermodynamic, and structural basis for nucleotide incorporation fidelity, a topic that is critical not only for the accurate maintenance, transmission, and expression of genetically encoded information, but also for targeting RdRp for antiviral therapy.


These investigations have resulted in exciting discoveries that have led his laboratory into many new areas, including enzyme dynamics, vesicular transport, innate immunity, vaccine development, and mitochondrial molecular biology. Cameron’s work is highly collaborative, with teams of researchers from academia (local, national, and international), government, and industry participating.

He is working on several projects, including RNA-dependent RNA polymerase mechanism, virus attenuation and vaccine development, picornavirus genome replication, biochemical mechanisms and biological functions of HCV proteins NS3 and NS5a, mitochondrial transcription and disease, and lethal mutagenesis as an antiviral strategy.

Cameron took over as chair of the University of North Carolina’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology on September 1, 2019. His studies center on RNA polymerases and RNA-binding proteins that are required for viral replication or mitochondrial function. The goal of this research is to come up with new ways to treat and/or prevent viral infections and mitochondrial dysfunction. He has over 100 articles published in prestigious journals.

Cameron has received several awards throughout his career, including the National Cancer Institute’s Howard Temin Award and the American Heart Association’s Established Investigator Award. He serves on the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ Board of Scientific Counselors, the American Societies for Virology and Microbiology’s Executive Councils, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Minority Affairs Committee. Cameron is on the editorial boards of three journals: the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Journal of Virology, and ASBMB Today.



Written by How Africa News

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