Richard J. Courtney

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, United States 
 1985-1991 Biochemistry Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, United States 
 1991-2011 Biochemistry Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, United States 
"Richard Courtney"

Dr. Richard J. Courtney, passed away on April 11, 2018 at home in Hershey, PA with his wife and two daughters by his side. Dick was an internationally-recognized virologist, a celebrated educator, a highly respected leader, a devoted husband, a loving father, an eternal optimist, and a gentleman to all. He made this world a measurably better place for all who knew him and for countless others who have felt his influence indirectly through those who he touched.
Dick was a proud product of Greenville, PA, where he was born on July 2, 1941 son of the late Arthur and Agnes Courtney. He always enjoyed describing the one-room schoolhouse where his education began, setting in motion a life-long career in education and research. He subsequently attended Grove City College, also in western PA, where he majored in Biology and earned a B.S. degree in 1963. He continued his education at Syracuse University in upstate New York, where he studied Microbiology and began to focus on viruses, earning an M.S. degree in 1966 and a Ph.D. in 1968. More importantly, he met the love of his life, Diana Powers, and they were married on July 11, 1966. By Dick's account, this was the single best decision he made in his entire life.
In 1968, Dick and Diana moved to Houston where he was initially a postdoctoral fellow at the Baylor College of Medicine in the Department of Virology and Epidemiology. In 1970, he was promoted to Assistant Professor, and in 1976, he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. At Baylor, many wonderful things happened. Scientifically, Dick began research on herpes simplex virus, an important pathogen infecting 70% of the human population. He was most widely known for pioneering and detailed studies of the proteins on the surface of this virus, which enable it to infect and spread among cells. Baylor was a hotbed for virology research in the United States at this time and produced many other internationally-recognized scientists, with whom Dick remained close for the rest of his life. As his scientific life grew, so did Dick and Diana's family, with daughters Sheryl and Lisa being born in Texas.
In 1978, the Courtney family moved to Knoxville, where Dick began as an Associate Professor of Microbiology at the University of Tennessee and was promoted to full Professor in 1985. He and Diana greatly enjoyed being close to the Smoky Mountains, and Dick's ground-breaking studies of herpes simplex virus continued at a rapid rate. However, while at UT, he also began to understand what he was born to do–nurture the careers of fellow scientists. In 1985, he left Knoxville to become Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, Louisiana. There he assembled a talented group of faculty members who, through his tireless mentoring, became leaders in their own research areas, and all the while, the Courtney Laboratory continued to be as productive as ever.
In 1991, Dick had the unexpected opportunity to become the Chair of Microbiology and Immunology at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, and he happily returned to his home state after being away for 28 years. Once again, Dick cultivated a talented faculty who thrived under his leadership as he helped guide their careers. At the same time, his laboratory continued to make many important contributions to herpesvirology, ultimately publishing a total of 95 scientific papers. As a researcher, Dick was generous to, and supportive of, all scientists with whom he interacted across the world. As a teacher of thousands of undergraduates, graduate students, and medical students, he was passionate, inspiring, caring, and infinitely patient. He received numerous awards for his teaching, culminating with the prestigious Distinguished Educator Award from the College of Medicine. Moreover, when he retired in 2011, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology honored him with a yearly graduate-student award in his name. As a leader, Dick was a selfless visionary who worked harder than anyone else and deeply appreciated the contributions of every student, postdoc, staff member, and faculty member.
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Bucks MA, Murphy MA, O'Regan KJ, et al. (2011) Identification of interaction domains within the UL37 tegument protein of herpes simplex virus type 1. Virology. 416: 42-53
O'Regan KJ, Brignati MJ, Murphy MA, et al. (2010) Virion incorporation of the herpes simplex virus type 1 tegument protein VP22 is facilitated by trans-Golgi network localization and is independent of interaction with glycoprotein E. Virology. 405: 176-92
Murphy MA, Bucks MA, O'Regan KJ, et al. (2008) The HSV-1 tegument protein pUL46 associates with cellular membranes and viral capsids. Virology. 376: 279-89
Baird NL, Yeh PC, Courtney RJ, et al. (2008) Sequences in the UL11 tegument protein of herpes simplex virus that control association with detergent-resistant membranes. Virology. 374: 315-21
O'Regan KJ, Murphy MA, Bucks MA, et al. (2007) Incorporation of the herpes simplex virus type 1 tegument protein VP22 into the virus particle is independent of interaction with VP16. Virology. 369: 263-80
Bucks MA, O'Regan KJ, Murphy MA, et al. (2007) Herpes simplex virus type 1 tegument proteins VP1/2 and UL37 are associated with intranuclear capsids. Virology. 361: 316-24
O'Regan KJ, Bucks MA, Murphy MA, et al. (2007) A conserved region of the herpes simplex virus type 1 tegument protein VP22 facilitates interaction with the cytoplasmic tail of glycoprotein E (gE). Virology. 358: 192-200
Loomis JS, Courtney RJ, Wills JW. (2006) Packaging determinants in the UL11 tegument protein of herpes simplex virus type 1. Journal of Virology. 80: 10534-41
Meyers C, Andreansky SS, Courtney RJ. (2003) Replication and interaction of herpes simplex virus and human papillomavirus in differentiating host epithelial tissue. Virology. 315: 43-55
Loomis JS, Courtney RJ, Wills JW. (2003) Binding partners for the UL11 tegument protein of herpes simplex virus type 1. Journal of Virology. 77: 11417-24
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