Thursday, December 18, 2014


Carol Duffy is proof that changing your mind is not only acceptable, but that doing so can often lead to something momentous. Duffy, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, is headed somewhere that very few faculty members have the chance to go – to a third phase clinical trial for a drug combination that has shown promising results to treat not only one, but several painful and debilitating illnesses.
How have researchers not found this far-reaching treatment before? Because it never occurred to them that diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome could be caused by a virus, specifically herpes simplex virus type 1. This virus causes cold sores and forever lives in the body of anyone who has been exposed to it, which amounts to about 90 percent of the population.
Another fact that physicians didn’t realize is that HSV-1 is best kept at bay using not just antiviral medications, but through a combination of antivirals and other drug types. That’s where Duffy, The University of Alabama’s resident expert on HSV-1, has been able to shed some light.
Preparing for Takeoff           
As an undergraduate zoology major at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, Duffy never imagined that she’d become a virologist. Her dream was to become a veterinarian. She stayed in her hometown of Flagstaff because she wanted to remain with her horse.
In a zigzag path of trial-and-error, Duffy shadowed vets, worked in the medical research and development division of a manufacturing company, and conducted research as an undergraduate in her advisor’s lab. Through these experiences, she stumbled upon two things she realized she loved more – research and microbiology.
Read the rest of the story here and draw your own conclusions.  I am just posting this for informational purposes, and am not endorsing the program.

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