Cell biologist Carolyn Machamer, Ph.D is The Pew Charitable Trusts' biomedical researcher of the month for her creative work on coronaviruses. Specifically, Machamer studies how the family of viruses uses a host cell's machinery against it.
While most coronaviruses result only in the common cold, those responsible for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and SARS can lead to fatal pneumonia. Machamer researches how coronaviruses infect cells, focusing on how their viral proteins use the host cells' structures to assemble into infectious agents that are then released into the body. She believes that curiosity-driven research into the mechanisms of virus-host interactions will lead to treatments and vaccines for MERS, SARS, and a range of viruses that behave similarly.
Machamer's story is part of a biomedical researcher of the month series launched by Pew. Since 1985, Pew's biomedical programs have provided funding to more than 500 early-career investigators who, like Machamer, show outstanding promise in science with the potential to advance human health. The scholars' exceptional research has earned them Nobel Prizes, Lasker Awards, MacArthur Foundation "genius" grants and other distinctions.
Experts are available for interviews regarding Machamer's research and the program:
- Carolyn Machamer, Ph.D., 1990 Pew scholar and professor, Department of Cell Biology, Johns Hopkins University.
- Anita Pepper, Ph.D., director of the Pew Programs in the Biomedical Sciences
Pew's biomedical programs include the Pew scholars and the Pew Latin American fellows programs.
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For information regarding the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences, please visit http://www.
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