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Immunologist Named von Liebig Chair in Bio Medical Sciences

(Posted May 24, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Dr. Michael D.P. Boyle, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo, Ohio, has been named the William J. von Liebig Chair in Biomedical Sciences at Juniata College, effective Aug. 15.

Dr. Boyle will supervise undergraduate research projects and will help design research components within Juniata's existing science classes. As science education moves into biotechnology and genomics, Dr. Boyle will help Juniata develop the college's science education initiatives into such specialized areas as molecular pathogenesis and biomedical science.

"Bringing an educator and researcher of Dr. Boyle's caliber to Juniata is an extremely significant accomplishment for the college," says Juniata President Thomas R. Kepple. "His experience and insight will prove invaluable to our efforts to improve one of the top undergraduate science education programs in the nation."

"There has been a change in how the biologists of the next decade will be trained," Dr. Boyle says. "The era of one researcher working on a single problem has gone by the wayside. Science is now a team sport, and the faculty and new facilities at Juniata will make teaching this more specialized approach to science very exciting."

Dr. Boyle, a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, started his career as a visiting fellow and visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute from 1974 to 1980. His research focused on using specific antibodies to identify and purge or kill tumor cells from bone marrow to be used in bone marrow transplantation.

Currently his research focuses on two areas: using immunotechnology to adapt antibodies as the basis for diagnostics and other tests; and the study of pathogen interactions between Group A streptococcus and the human immune system.

Dr. Boyle began his academic career in 1981 as an associate professor of immunology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Fla. He was promoted to full professor in 1985. He served as an adjunct professor at the Florida medical college from 1988 to 1990.

Dr. Boyle joined the faculty of the Medical College of Ohio (MCO) in 1988 and directed the feasibility study for a Northwest Ohio Life Sciences Incubator on the MCO campus in 1999-2001. Since 1999, he has served as director of the college's pathogenesis and immunology program within the newly created MCO Cancer Center.

Dr. Boyle says Juniata's liberal arts curriculum and top reputation in science education was a selling point for his new position. "If you are an expert in a very narrow area of expertise, you find yourself talking to the same people all the time," he explains. "It's only when you go outside that area of expertise that you get probing questions that might lead to a new way of looking at a problem. One of the wonderful things about a small college is that there is so much diversity in people's backgrounds."

His education began in Europe, earning a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Glasgow, in Glasgow, Scotland in 1971. He earned a doctorate from the Chester Beatty Research Institute, Belmont, Sutton in Surrey, England. He has served on a variety of academic committees at both MCO and the University of Florida.

He is a current or past member of a variety of professional organizations, including the Foundation for the Advancement of Education in the Sciences, the American Association of Immunologists, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Microbiologists, the Lancefield Society and Sigma Xi, the international honor society of scientific and engineering research.

His research has been supported by competitive peer-reviewed grants from the National Institutes Of Health, the National Science Foundation and the American Heart Association. The results of his research have been published in such journals as The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, Molecular Microbiology, Journal of Microbiological Methods, Cellular Immunology, Journal of Immunology, Cancer Research and the Journal of Pediatrics. Dr Boyle is currently on the editorial board of Biotechniques, Methods, and the Journal Of Microbiological Methods. He holds 14 U.S. Patents on biotechnology products related to immunology. From 1986 to 1993, Boyle was the president and founder of Gator Microbiologicals Inc., a biotechnology company that was taken over by ReceptorPro Inc. in 1993.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.