Aballay Receives Prestigious NIH Merit Award

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Alejandro Aballay, PhD, professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and director of the Center for Host Microbial Interactions at Duke University, is a recipient of a prestigious NIH MERIT Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for his research project on the role of the nervous system in controlling immunity.

Dr. Aballay’s research project will study the neural circuits involved in the control of stress responses and innate immunity. Recent studies from his laboratory indicate that different immune mechanisms are controlled at the organismal level by the nervous system.

MERIT Awards provide long-term support to investigators whose research competence and productivity are distinctly superior. The MERIT award provides funding for 5 years and could be renewed for up to 10 years.

In recognition of his research and achievements, Dr. Aballay has received a number of other awards including the Neuroimmunology of Brain Infections and Cancers Award and the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) Young Investigator Award. In 2017, Dr. Aballay was named a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

“Alejandro has been a stellar investigator at Duke for the past 15 years, and he joins a select cadre of Duke faculty who have received NIH MERIT award,” said Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology in the Duke University School of Medicine.

Other Duke University faculty who have received a Merit Award including Dr. Marc Caron, James B. Duke Professor of Cell Biology; Dr. Loreena Beese, James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry; Dr. Michael Krangel, Chair and Mary Bernheim Professor of Immunology; Dr. Blanche Capel, James B. Duke Professor of Cell Biology; Dr. Donald McDonnell, Chair and Glaxo-Wellcome Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology; Dr. Brigid Hogan, Chair and George Barth Geller Professor, Department of Cell Biology; Dr. Anna Mae Diehl, Florence McAlister Professor, Department of Medicine; and Dr. Joseph Heitman, Chair and James B. Duke Professor of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.