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Rochford and her former post-doctoral fellow Dr. Sidney Ogolla at their research clinic lab at the Chulaimbo county hospital in Western Kenya.

Rosemary Rochford, PhD, Receives Henle Award for Decades of Research on Epstein-Barr Virus-Related Cancer

Rochford focuses on EBV- and malaria-related Burkitt lymphoma in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Written by Greg Glasgow on April 25, 2024

University of Colorado Cancer Center member Rosemary Rochford, PhD, has spent the past 34 years researching the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) a virus that causes several types of cancer, including Burkitt lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, gastric carcinoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

In February, Rochford was announced as the winner of the 2024 Henle Award from the Board of the International Association for Research on Epstein-Barr Virus and Associated Diseases. The award recognizes scientists who have made major contributions to the understanding and/or treatment of EBV and associated diseases.

“I’m quite honored to receive it,” says Rochford, professor emerita in the CU School of Medicine. “It’s an award for which you get nominated by your peers, and there have only been 17 awardees since it started in 1990.”

The malaria connection

Rochford has focused her decades of EBV research on the link between the virus and Burkitt lymphoma, an aggressive B-cell lymphoma. She has conducted much of her research on patients in sub-Saharan Africa, where she has found that malaria plays a role in the EBV-related cancer that primarily affects children. 

Rochford has made many trips to sub-Saharan Africa to conduct research, and she has discovered that repeated infection with malaria is the cause of high levels of Burkitt’s lymphoma in that part of the world.

Cultivating relationships

Developing relationships with clinicians and communities in Africa has been an especially rewarding part of her research for which Rochford is pleased to be recognized with the Henle Award.

 Featured image: Rochford and her former post-doctoral fellow Sidney Ogolla at their research clinic lab at the Chulaimbo county hospital in Western Kenya. 

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Rosemary Rochford, PhD