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Tori Badura

Career Journal 6 Virologist


What educational route did you take to get to where you are today? What training did this
Well, I have a doctorate in my field. But there are different specialties in virology. I specialize in
viral oncology, which deals with cancers that are associated with viruses. In order to get to
where I am today, I recommend getting a bachelors in biology or chemistry. After your
undergraduate, you would most likely spend 4 to 6 years in medical school. Most virologists are
also required to complete a fellowship.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

Well, as I always tell my students, there really isnt such a thing as a typical day for me.
Virologists have a wide range of responsibilities, from possibly teaching or mentoring students
to investigating the site of a deadly outbreak to working for 6 to 10 hours in the lab. It varies
greatly what I do on any given day, though my most consistent job is probably the two classes I
teach at the university.

What is the salary range for an experienced virologist like yourself, whose been working in the
field for years?
I make around $116,000 annually, but thats a little higher than average because of my position
in the university. I would say most virologist with my experience average around $80,000 to
$100,000 annually.

So what is this new treatment method you have invented? How is this going to prevent

Tori Badura
Well, first, let me say that it will not prevent all cancer. It does seem promising in curing certain
types of cancer related to EBV, such as nasopharyngeal cancer and Burkitt lymphoma. The name
of this treatment is actually named EBVacc, after the EBV virus itself; EBV stands for Epstein-Barr
Virus, the same virus that causes the kissing disease, or mononucleosis. It works because we
have found a way to genetically modify the virus. You see, the problem with cancer is that the
body doesnt recognize it as malignant, therefore it simply continues to grow, usually into
deadly tumors. Cancers associated with EBV have been caused because this virus left a mutation
in certain cells. This mutation is what allowed the cancer to grow. EBVacc, when injected into
the tumor, should theoretically cause the body to begin fighting the cancer. This is because the
body recognizes that EBV caused the mutation in its cells; in fact, if youve had a disease such as
mono, it will always be a part of your B lymphocytes. So if we modify EBV to integrate into a
host cells genome, then inject it into the cancerous tissue, the body should begin to fight off the
cancer because the immune system recognizes a deadly disease. Its kind of like fighting fire with

How soon can we expect this to be on the market? How much research is left?
We have just begun our experimental trials on monkeys. We plan to move onto small
experimental groups of humans next. Of course, that all depends on how it goes with the
monkeys. But our minor tests in the lab has proved promising. We hope in the next 5 years this
will be a common and effective treatment plan for these cancers, and hopefully it will lead to
the ability to curing other types of cancers as well.