Albright College student, Megan Keller, of Bel Air, Md., led a discussion on poxviruses for the 41st annual American Society for Virology conference in Madison, Wisconsin. The session was convened by Albright Associate Professor of Biology, Adam Hersperger, Ph.D. Founded in 1981, the American Society for Virology was the first scientific society in the world dedicated exclusively to virology.
A graduate of Bel Air High School, Keller is studying biology/biotechnology at Albright while working with Hersperger on “Understanding the Importance of the Ectromelia Growth Factor Protein to Virus Replication.” Keller and Hersperger are researching growth factor genes to learn about their role in infection and replication of ectromelia virus (mouse pox).
Keller is also working with vaccinia virus to help explain the role of the ectromelia growth factor gene. Vaccinia virus has been used for human immunization more extensively than any other vaccine, and was employed to provide cross-protection against the causative agent of smallpox, until it was eradicated.
Keller and Hersperger make up one of 15 Albright College faculty/student pairs from various academic disciplines conducting Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) projects this summer.
Through Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) projects, undergraduate students conduct research or pursue creative endeavors outside of regular semester sessions. Student proposals must be accepted by a faculty review board and are rewarded with college stipends. ACRE students work one-on-one with faculty mentors to pursue scholarly projects each summer and winter. Many collaborative teams of students and faculty present their research at academic conferences and publish their results in professional journals.