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DR. PRISCILLA A. SCHAFFER '64, SC.D. '94

Dr. Priscilla A. Schaffer is an internationally recognized expert in the pathogenesis of DNA viruses and Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Virology, Harvard Medical School at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

She has devoted her career to health care, primarily focusing on the herpes simplex virus, its ability to establish lifelong latent infections and its relation to neurological diseases. Through her research, Schaffer has successfully illuminated the molecular chain of events that combats herpes virus infections, giving hope to millions of people around the world.

In addition to her duties as Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Virology, Schaffer is also Professor of Medicine and of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School. She has previously served as Chair of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she was the first woman to serve as chair of any department.

Schaffer has also been active in the area of scientific ethics as a member of the Expert Scientific Advisory Panel of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Scientific Integrity; the Public Health Service’s Congressional Commission on Research Integrity; and Harvard Medical School’s Faculty Conduct Committee.

At William Smith, she graduated cum laude with a double major in biology and chemistry. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in medical microbiology from Cornell University Medical College with distinction.

She has authored or co-authored more than 140 works, and holds 30 national memberships and consultantships. Schaffer has received the prestigious Merit Award from the National Cancer Institute in recognition of her sustained excellence in basic research.