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Fox Chase Cancer Center Virologist Christoph Seeger Named a Senior Member of Basic Science Division

PHILADELPHIA (May 27, 1999) -- Dr. Christoph Seeger of Elkins Park, Pa., has been promoted to senior member of Fox Chase Cancer Center's division of basic science. Seeger, a virologist, joins a select group of only 35 current staff members previously honored as senior members in one of the Center's three research divisions-basic, medical or population science. Approved by the Center's board of directors, the honor is based on the consensus of the scientist's peers.

"Christoph Seeger is recognized as an international leader in virology," said Dr. Anna Marie Skalka, senior vice president for basic science, in making the announcement. She cited his groundbreaking contributions to understanding molecular aspects of how human and animal hepatitis B viruses replicate and how they cause primary liver cancer as a result of chronic infection.

The World Health Organization estimates that 350 million adults are chronically infected with hepatitis B, largely as a result of infection during infancy. Approximately 1 million people die every year of hepatitis B-related liver cancer or cirrhosis.

Seeger's research focuses on how the virus interacts with host cells to cause transient or chronic infection and, ultimately, liver disease.

"Hepatitis B infection depends on several specific interactions between viral and host proteins present in liver cells," Seeger explained. "By understanding how the virus enters cells and reproduces itself, we hope to discover ways to inhibit hepatitis B replication and halt progressive disease."

The American Liver Foundation's Delaware Valley Chapter honored Seeger as 1993 Researcher of the Year. The American Society for Virology invited him to deliver its State-of-the-Art Lecture [at its 1997 annual meeting in Bozeman, Mont.

Seeger came to Fox Chase in 1990 as an associate member after four years as an assistant professor of virology at New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in Ithaca. He was promoted to member with tenure in basic science in 1993.

Born in Basel, Switzerland, he received his master's degree in virology and his Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Basel. He received a Hoffmann-LaRoche postdoctoral fellowship in 1982 and a Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship in 1983. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in microbiology and immunology at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine in 1986.

Seeger frequently takes part in international and national symposia. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Virology and associate editor of Virology.

At Fox Chase, Seeger heads the postdoctoral committee and serves as principal investigator for the postdoctoral training grant from the National Cancer Institute. He has also set up shared resources for image scanning and laser dissection microscopes.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 35 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers. Its activities include basic and clinical research; prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach programs.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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