Dr. David Watkins Elected to Fellowship in American Academy of Microbiology

David Watkins, Ph.D.,professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Pathology, has been elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. The Academy, which is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, recognizes excellence, originality and leadership in the microbiological sciences.

Fellows of the Academy are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. There are more than 2,400 fellows, representing all subspecialties of microbiology, including basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry and government service.

Watkins was one of 79 fellows inducted this year, at the Academy Fellows Luncheon and Meeting, held during the American Society for Microbiology’s 115th General Meeting in New Orleans on June 2.

“It is truly a great honor to be selected,” said Watkins, “and to be recognized by my peers for my work.”

“David Watkins is an outstanding member of the Department of Pathology faculty, and is one of the world’s foremost immunologists and microbiologists,” said Richard J. Cote, M.D., Professor and Joseph R. Coulter Chair of the Department of Pathology, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, Chief of Pathology at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and Director of BioNIUM. “His work has clarified and extended our understanding of the immune response to important infectious diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS, where he has discovered new mechanisms by which humans might respond to this disease. His findings are an important component of the development of vaccine strategies to HIV/AIDS and other tropical diseases.”

A perfect example, said Cote, is the five-year, $9.9 million grant Watkins received from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 2012 to explore developing an HIV vaccine from yellow fever vaccine.

“Election to the American Academy of Microbiology is a significant honor, with its fellows being composed of eminent leaders in the field of microbiology,” said Cote. “We are extremely pleased and very proud of the accomplishments of Dr. Watkins.”

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