Bioscientists to gather, honor WVU researcher

Nyles Charon is internationally known for study of spirochetes

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – More than 100 researchers from across the globe will gather in Morgantown June 6 to exchange information about the latest studies of spirochetes, a form of bacteria best known as the cause of Lyme disease, syphilis and diseases of livestock and other animals.

The meeting is being held at West Virginia University to honor the lifelong work of Nyles Charon, Ph.D., whose research since his arrival at WVU in 1974 has made him one of the leaders in the field.

The program for the daylong symposium at WVU’s Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center will include researchers in human and animal health from universities and federal laboratories across the country.

Charon, who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota, joined the WVU faculty upon completion of a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. In more than three decades of work at WVU, he has served as principal investigator on several million dollars worth of competitively funded research projects that produced scores of published papers in highly prestigious peer-reviewed journals. His current research is centered on a specific bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease.

He was awarded the School of Medicine Dean’s Award for Research in 2006. He has also taught microbiology courses to hundreds of medical and dental students.

Justin Radolf, M.D., of the University of Connecticut Health Center helped plan the event. “Nyles has been inspirational to many people in the profession,” Dr. Radolf said. “It’s not just the research he’s done or the papers he’s published. He’s fostered the field, he’s championed great science and he’s trained outstanding scientists.”

Radolf described his first meeting with Charon at a research conference: “He was gyrating his whole body to illustrate how spirochetes move. You could tell right away that he is interested in this on a pure scientific level – he wants to know what makes a spirochete tick. He’s been a role model for all of us.”

For information on the conference see http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/micro/symposium/about.asp.


For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
xx: 05-01-09

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