Crystal Boudreaux, Ph.D., an associate professor of microbiology at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), was selected as a “Generation Next: 40 Under 40” honoree by The State Journal, which covers news about business, government, education, health care and related topics throughout West Virginia.
The publication’s Generation Next program pays tribute to young professionals who work to make the Mountain State a better place to live, raise families and conduct business. Boudreaux was one of 40 West Virginians recognized during a June 16 awards ceremony at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center in Fairmont, W.Va.
Boudreaux, who received WVSOM’s Outstanding Faculty Award in 2020, teaches first- and second-year medical students about infectious disease, with a focus on virology. She has spent years researching cellular host factors that assist in rotavirus replication, and her laboratory team works to improve vaccinations and develop new antiviral treatments.
She also directs WVSOM’s Just Say KNOW program, designed to introduce ninth- through 12th-graders and recent high school graduates to science- and medicine-related concepts. The annual camp is free to attend and is hosted on WVSOM’s Lewisburg campus and virtually.
Boudreaux said that as an educator, she is driven by the desire to see students achieve their goals.
“I want to see them succeed, whether it’s a medical student whose end point is becoming a physician or a high school student trying to find an undergraduate program or career they’re interested in,” she said. “And I love being part of a team. If you can inspire people to make advancements, to use their individual expertise to reach a common goal, then you inevitably achieve what you set out to do.”
This is a critical time to promote the importance of science and medicine to the public, she said, especially given the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now more than ever, we need to be articulate and communicate in a way that can transcend different communities. We need to bridge the gap between community and health and make sure we’re reaching people effectively,” Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux has numerous research publications to her credit and has been awarded multiple research grants, including, in 2020, a $300,000 West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Major Research Project Award for her project “The Role of AMPK Pathway Intermediates in Rotavirus Pathogenesis,” which examines human proteins that allow viruses to infect the body.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences with a minor in chemistry from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., and a Ph.D. in viral immunology from Mississippi State University. Before joining WVSOM in 2017, Boudreaux served as a postdoctoral research associate at the Carillion Research Institute and School of Medicine in Roanoke, Va.
Kristie Bridges, Ph.D., who chairs WVSOM’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, praised Boudreaux for her dedication to sharing her love of research with medical students.
“Dr. Boudreaux’s work has had a huge impact on both WVSOM and the broader community,” Bridges said. “Science is not just about knowledge; it’s about an approach to understanding our world and solving problems. In sharing her passion for science, Dr. Boudreaux promotes the development of skills that will enable our students to make positive changes in their communities no matter what path their lives take.”