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Edward Gershburg, Ph.D., in his laboratory
Portrait of Gershburg

December 20, 2010

SIU Med School Researcher to Study Epstein-Barr Virus in Cancer

A research scientist at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield has been awarded a one-year grant from the American Cancer Society, Illinois Division, for the study of the Epstein-Barr virus and its possible link to cancer development.  The total budget for the grant is $99,335.

Edward Gershburg, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology and a research member of the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU, is the principal investigator for the project. 

The study will test whether changes in cell chromatin (a combination of DNA and proteins that form chromosomes) in the presence of one of the virus components correspond to changes often observed in cancer cells.  The study will then test whether similar changes in chromatin are observed in cells infected with the Epstein-Barr virus to determine whether the virus plays a role in cancer development.  Results of the research will increase the understanding of chromatin regulation and virus dormancy, both of which are known to contribute to cancer development and progression.

Gershburg has been doing research for 12 years with three years funded by the National Institutes of Health.  His research has focused on the interaction of the Epstein-Barr virus and the host cell chromatin.

Gershburg joined the SIU faculty in 2007.  He earned his doctoral degree in virology at Tel-Aviv University in Israel (1999) and his master’s degree in microbiology at St. Petersburg State University in Russia (1992).

The mission of the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU is to serve the people of central and southern Illinois by addressing their present and future cancer care needs through medical education, biomedical research and patient service.  Its Web site is and its main phone number is 217-545-6000.