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Schoggins elected to American Academy of Microbiology

John Schoggins, Ph.D.
John Schoggins, Ph.D.

John Schoggins, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology, is one of 65 new Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology. Fellows are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology.

Fellows in the Class of 2024 represent seven countries – France, Germany, Hong Kong (Greater China), South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.

“Being elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology is an honor and acknowledgment of our lab’s commitment to advancing basic science research related to antiviral immunity. It underscores the collective effort and dedication of our trainees and lab members, whose contributions made this possible,” Dr. Schoggins said.

The Schoggins Lab studies innate immunity at the virus-host interface using virological, genetic, and biochemical approaches to identify and characterize mechanisms that mammalian hosts use to control viral infection and virus-induced diseases. The lab was working on a coronavirus project for several years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given our experience with these viruses, we were poised to contribute to many COVID-19 basic and translational research projects over the past four years,” Dr. Schoggins said. “Our collective efforts to respond to this global public health crisis led to many new collaborations and interactions with scientists and physicians that probably would not have happened otherwise.”

Schoggins’ work has been supported by an American Lung Association Innovation Award, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award, and a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award. In 2020 Dr. Schoggins received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award providing $3.5 million over five years to examine whether animals that carry viruses such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2 possess antiviral genes that allow them to survive.

“Related to our Pioneer Award, we have some fun new projects in which we’re mining the genomes of various mammals to see if they have antiviral genes that inhibit viruses in ways our human genes don’t,” he said. “We currently have cell lines from bats, deer, lions, pigs, horses, and various rodents. We plan on using genetic approaches to uncover new genes that these various animals might be using to combat viruses.”

Dr. Schoggins completed his Ph.D. at Cornell University Medical College (now Weill Cornell Medicine) and a postdoctoral fellowship at The Rockefeller University, where he studied under respected virologist Charles M. Rice, Ph.D., who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research contributing to the discovery of hepatitis C.

Looking ahead, Dr. Schoggins is excited UTSW is investing in the construction and development of new biosafety level 3 facilities for work with disease-causing viruses and bacteria.

“These new research labs will allow us to continue and expand our institution’s collective efforts on important infectious disease research,” he said. “This expansion of infrastructure is a testament to UTSW’s vision and commitment to cutting-edge research.”

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