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International Symposium on Molecular Medicine & Infectious Disease Prize Winners

The following leaders in the field of molecular medicine and infectious diseases received prizes and gave talks during the 2017 International Symposium, which took place from Tuesday, November 14, to Thursday, November 16.

Ed Boyden, PhD: Drexel Prize in Biotechnology

Ed Boyden, PhD

Ed Boyden, PhD, is a professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT McGovern Institute. He leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which develops tools for analyzing and repairing complex biological systems such as the brain, and applies them systematically to reveal ground truth principles of biological function as well as to repair these systems. These technologies include expansion microscopy, which enables complex biological systems to be imaged with nanoscale precision, and optogenetic tools, which enable the activation and silencing of neural activity with light, among many other innovations. Dr. Boyden co-directs the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering, which aims to develop new tools to accelerate neuroscience progress.

Among other recognition, he has received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2016), the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2015), the Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences (2015), the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award (2013), the Grete Lundbeck Brain Prize (2013), the NIH Director's Pioneer Award (2013), the NIH Director's Transformative Research Award (twice, 2012 and 2013), and the Perl/UNC Neuroscience Prize (2011). He was also named to the World Economic Forum Young Scientist list (2013), the Technology Review World’s "Top 35 Innovators under Age 35" list (2006), and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017).

Dr. Boyden's group has hosted hundreds of visitors to learn how to use new biotechnologies, and he also regularly teaches at summer courses and workshops in neuroscience, and delivers lectures to the broader public (e.g., TED [2011]; TED Summit [2016]; World Economic Forum [2012, 2013, 2016]). He received his PhD in neurosciences from Stanford University as a Hertz Fellow, where he discovered that the molecular mechanisms used to store a memory are determined by the content to be learned. Before that, he received three degrees in electrical engineering, computer science and physics from MIT. Dr. Boyden has contributed to over 300 peer-reviewed papers, current or pending patents, and articles, and has given over 300 invited talks on his group's work.

Dan Barouch, MD, PhD: Drexel Prize in Immunology

Dan Barouch, MD, PhD

Dan Barouch, MD, PhD, is director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is also professor of medicine and professor of microbiology and immunobiology at Harvard Medical School. He received his BA summa cum laude from Harvard College, his PhD in immunology from Oxford University, and his MD summa cum laude from Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Barouch’s laboratory focuses on studying the immunology and virology of HIV-1 infection and developing novel vaccine and eradication strategies. His laboratory has explored a series of HIV-1 vaccine platforms, including adjuvanted DNA vaccines, poxvirus vectors, adenovirus vectors and purified proteins in both preclinical and clinical studies. He has advanced a series of novel adenovirus vector-based HIV-1 vaccine candidates from concept and design to preclinical testing to phase 1/2a clinical trials in the U.S., East Africa, South Africa and Thailand. He is also evaluating HIV-1 cure strategies based on therapeutic vaccines and broadly neutralizing antibodies. In addition, he has recently applied his vaccine development interests to emerging infectious diseases, and he has led the preclinical and phase 1 clinical development of several Zika virus vaccines.

Dr. Barouch’s laboratory is a key part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery, the National Institutes of Health Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery, and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard.

Dr. Barouch is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases, and he is committed to mentoring students, clinical fellows, research fellows and junior faculty, and to providing clinical care to patients with infectious diseases.

Kevin Marsh, PhD: Drexel Prize in Infectious Disease

Kevin Marsh, PhD

Kevin Marsh, PhD, is a professor of tropical medicine at the University of Oxford and senior advisor at the African Academy of Sciences. He qualified in medicine at the University of Liverpool in 1978 and began his research career at the MRC Unit in the Gambia working on the immunology of malaria, during which he was also a visiting researcher at NIH.

His major research interests have been in the acquisition of human immunity to malaria and its interplay in determining the clinical and epidemiological picture of the disease He also has a broad interest in all aspects of child health in Africa. In 1989 he established with colleagues a series of research projects on malaria in Kilifi on the Kenyan coast. These have subsequently developed into an international interdisciplinary program addressing many aspects of public health (the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme) involving around 800 staff working across a number of countries in East Africa, of which he was director until August 2014.

Dr. Marsh has a particular interest in scientific leadership in Africa and is currently supporting the development of a new platform for the acceleration of science in Africa through the African Academy of Sciences. In Oxford he has established and leads the Africa Oxford Initiative, a cross-university platform for facilitating the development of research collaborations with African colleagues in all academic disciplines. He is chair of the WHO Malaria Policy Advisory Committee and is a member of a number of international advisory committees relating to malaria and to global health research. He is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the African Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the Prince Mahidol Prize for Medicine in 2010, the Al Sumait Prize for Development in Africa in 2016 and the European Molecular Biology Laboratories (EMBL) Award for lifetime achievement in malaria research in 2017.

Richard Hynes, PhD, FRS: Drexel Prize in Cancer Biology

Richard Hynes, PhD, FRS

Richard Hynes, PhD, FRS, is a Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research at MIT. He received his BA in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and his PhD in biology from MIT in 1971. After postdoctoral work at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, where he initiated his work on cell adhesion, Dr. Hynes returned to MIT as a faculty member.

Dr. Hynes is a fellow of the Royal Society of London, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He has received the Gairdner Foundation International Award for achievement in medical science and the Pasarow Award for Cardiovascular Research. He was previously Associate Head and then Head of the Biology Department and served for 10 years as Director of the MIT Center for Cancer Research. He is currently a Governor of the Wellcome Trust UK.

Lynn Pulliam, PhD: Drexel's Hilary Koprowski Prize in Neurovirology

Lynn Pulliam, PhD

Lynn Pulliam, PhD, received her BA in biology in 1969 from Northwestern University, followed by her MS degree in microbiology from the California State University in 1975. She continued at the University of California in San Francisco and received her PhD in 1983 in experimental pathology – neuropathology. She has appointments in Laboratory Medicine and Medicine at UCSF and is chief of microbiology at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in San Francisco. For seven years she served as director of research at the VA in San Francisco, the largest VA research center in the U.S. She was the first woman nationally to hold this position.

Dr. Pulliam’s research has focused on HIV neuroimmunology, biomarkers for HIV neurocognitive impairment and the effects of HIV and aging. She was the first to develop a human brain aggregates model; show CMV infection of monocyte/microglia in the brain; show HIV neuropathogenesis was caused by cytokine storm, not by the virus; recognize that gp120 is toxic to brain cells and that HIV Tat inhibits neprilysin and elevates soluble Abeta. She recently reported that neuron-derived exosomes in the plasma have stress markers that correlate with cognitive impairment – the first plasma marker to identify neuronal injury.

She has recently developed several new areas of research including:

  1. HIV coinfection with hepatitis C and the association between monocyte gene expression profile and neurocognitive impairment in this cohort
  2. The effects of chronic inflammation on modified lipid uptake in HIV-infected subjects
  3. More recently, the role of exosomes in inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment in HIV infection

These projects highlight basic and translational research as well as including multidisciplinary collaborations.

Dr. Pulliam has won several national scientific awards on the effects of HIV in the brain. Her research has been funded by the NIH for over 30 years and she continues to serve as a reviewer for NIH and for ten scientific journals. Dr. Pulliam has published 60 scientific publications including two books. She teaches medical residents and fellows at UCSF and is committed to mentoring nationally through the International Society for Neurovirology.

Peter Palese, PhD: Special Lecture: Drexel Prize in Translational Medicine

Peter Palese, PhD

Peter Palese, PhD, is a professor of microbiology and medicine, and the chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His research is in the area of RNA-containing viruses, with a special emphasis on influenza viruses. He established the first genetic maps for influenza A, B and C viruses, identified the function of several viral genes, and defined the mechanism of neuraminidase inhibitors (which are now FDA-approved antivirals). He was also a pioneer in the field of reverse genetics for negative strand RNA viruses. His laboratory’s research is currently focused on the development of a universal influenza virus vaccine and oncolytic viruses.

Dr. Palese is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly IOM) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and a member of the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina). He serves on the editorial board for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is a former president of the Harvey Society and the American Society for Virology. Dr. Palese has received honorary doctorate degrees from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and McMaster University; he is a recipient of the Robert Koch Prize, the Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award, the Beijerinck Virology Prize, and the Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award.

Students walking down the hall at the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease at Drexel University College of Medicine.