Craig E. Cameron, Ph.D.

Craig E. Cameron is the Paul Berg Professor and Associate Head for Research and Graduate Education in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The Pennsylvania State University.  Following doctoral studies in biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and post-doctoral studies in the chemistry department at Penn State, he joined the faculty of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State in 1997.  He was tenured, promoted to the rank of associate professor and appointed Louis Martarano Associate Professor in 2002.  In 2005, he was promoted to the rank of professor and named the Paul Berg Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Cameron’s research focuses on RNA polymerases and RNA-binding proteins required for viral replication or mitochondrial function.  The goal of this work is development of novel strategies to treat and/or prevent viral infections and mitochondrial dysfunction.  He has published on the order of 100 papers in highly regarded journals.  During his career, Cameron has received several honors, including the Howard Temin Award from the National Cancer Institute and an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association.  He is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a member of the executive councils of the American Society for Virology and the American Society for Microbiology and chair of the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Cameron serves on the editorial boards for Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Virology and ASBMB Today. 

A primary goal of the Cameron laboratory has been development of strategies to treat or to prevent infections by RNA viruses.  He has used poliovirus and hepatitis C virus (HCV) as his primary model systems.  His expertise in virology, biochemistry and mechanistic enzymology brings a unique combination of intellectual and technical resources to the study of RNA viruses.  His initial focus was the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp).  In particular, he was interested in the kinetic, thermodynamic and structural basis for fidelity of nucleotide incorporation, a topic of considerable importance not only for accurate maintenance, transmission and expression of genetically encoded information but also for targeting the RdRp for antiviral therapy.  These studies have led to exciting discoveries that have moved his lab into many new areas, including enzyme dynamics, vesicular trafficking, innate immunity, vaccine development and mitochondrial molecular biology.  Cameron’s work is highly collaborative and includes research teams from academia (local, national and international), government and industry.  He has projects in the following areas:  RNA-dependent RNA polymerase mechanism, Viral attenuation and vaccine development, Picornavirus genome replication, Biochemical mechanisms and biological functions of HCV NS3 and NS5a proteins, Mitochondrial transcription and disease, and Lethal mutagenesis as an antiviral strategy.