Three Duke University School of Medicine researchers were named Burroughs Wellcome Fund 2021 Investigators in the highly competitive Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease (PATH) program. Lawrence A. David, PhD, assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, Gianna E. Hammer, PhD, assistant professor of immunology, and Nicholas S. Heaton, PhD, assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology are among eleven recipients of this year’s award. Duke University was the only institution with more than one awardee.
Recipients are provided $500,000 over a period of five years to pursue new avenues of inquiry, and to take on higher-risk research projects with potential to advance understanding of how infectious diseases work and how health is maintained.
David studies dietary strategies for enhancing bacterial pathogen resistance in the gut. Hammer works to decode T cell mediated mechanisms that underpin sterilizing immunity without pathology at mucosal barriers. Heaton researches hormone mediated regulation of antiviral immune responses.
“The Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award provides a rare opportunity to explore questions about how humans and our potential pathogens move forward in one another’s context, whether in sickness or in health,” said Burroughs Wellcome Fund Senior Program Officer Dr. Victoria McGovern. “Understanding this shared biology can yield invaluable insights for better health and can open new paths to further discovery.”