October 14, 2005

Karen Kreeger
(215) 349-5658


Penn Virologist Edits Comprehensive Book on Epstein-Barr Virus

(Philadelphia, PA) - Erle S. Robertson, PhD, an Associate Professor of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has edited a compendium, the largest to date, on the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The 33-chapter, 770-page review is entitled simply Epstein-Barr Virus. The book is published by Caister/Horizon Academic Press. This is the first volume of its kind dealing solely with Epstein-Barr virus and is expected to be the reference guide for all major works on the virus.

Topics covered include: Discovery, history and seroepidemiology; EBV and the immune response; EBV genetics; EBV infection and persistence; latency; lytic proteins and reactivation control; vaccine approaches; animal models; and the future of EBV studies. The first chapter, "The Origins of EBV Research," is written by Sir Anthony Epstein from the University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom, who named the virus along with his coworker Bert Achong and graduate student Yvonne Barr while studying at the Middlesex Hospital in London, UK in 1962.

Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is a human gamma herpes virus that remains one of the most successful viral parasites known to medical researchers. EBV is the agent of infectious mononucleosis and is the major biological cofactor contributing to a number of human cancers including B-cell neoplasms (Burkitt's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and immunoblastic lymphomas), certain forms of T-cell lymphoma, and some epithelial tumors (nasopharyngeal carcinomas and gastric carcinomas).

“This exceptional volume represents the first extensive reference guide for the field of EBV research, which is intended to impart to readers a sense of discovery, a discussion of initial and current hypotheses, as well as strategies for vaccine development,” says Robertson, who also wrote a chapter on EBV and the cell cycle, with Jason S. Knight, a graduate student in the Robertson lab. “It provides a wealth of information spanning 40 years of research, but at the same time clearly demonstrates the need for continuing studies.” Robertson is also the Director of the Tumor Virology Program at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center.


PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System comprises: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

This release is available online at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/oct05/RobertsonEBV.htm