Newsmakers – June 2013

The American Society of Microbiology has honored Dr. Neal Alto with a 2013 Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award, which recognizes early-career scientists for outstanding basic research in medical microbiology and infectious diseases. Dr. Alto, Assistant Professor of Microbiology, joined UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2007 as the Rita C. and William P. Clements, Jr. Scholar in Medical Research. His lab investigates cross-species communication between pathogens and the host’s cell-signaling systems. He received the award, named for a scientist involved in identification of HIV/AIDS therapies, on May 19 at the society’s annual meeting.

Nobel Laureate Dr. Bruce Beutler, Director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense and a Regental Professor, has received the 2013 American Society for Clinical Investigation’s Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award for his scientific contributions in innate immunity. The annual award recognizes outstanding achievements of ASCI members in advancing knowledge in a specific field and in mentoring future generations of life-science researchers. Dr. Beutler, who shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, is known for his research that determined how the body detects and fights infection. He holds the Raymond and Ellen Willie Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research, in Honor of Laverne and Raymond Willie, Sr.

Dr. Zhijian “James” Chen, Professor of Molecular Biology, and Dr. Lora Hooper, Associate Professor of Immunology and Microbiology, have assumed additional appointments in the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense. Dr. Hooper also holds an appointment in the Cancer Immunobiology Center. Dr. Chen holds the George L. MacGregor Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Science. Dr. Hooper is a Nancy Cain and Jeffrey A. Marcus Scholar in Medical Research, in Honor of Dr. Bill S. Vowell.