The 2009 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) ICAAC Young Investigator Award will be presented to David Masopust, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Sponsored by Merck U.S. Human Health, this award recognizes early career scientists for research excellence in microbiology and infectious diseases.
Dr. Masopust's primary interest is understanding the immunological memory of bacterial and viral pathogens at mucosal surfaces and applying it to designing effective vaccines against mucosal pathogens. While earning his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, Farmington, Dr. Masopust became interested in the lab's studies of understanding CD8 T cell immune responses in the intestinal mucosa. His first publication examined the mucosal response to a systemic viral infection which suggested that functional differences existed between lymphoid and non-lymphoid CD8 memory T cells. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University, Atlanta, GA.
Dr. Masopust and his colleagues studied the primary and memory response to VSV and Listeria infections. They demonstrated that CD8 memory T cells in the non-lymphoid tissues retained effector levels of target cell killing activity while lymphoid memory cells exhibited low cytotoxic activity. This landmark study transformed the field of immunological memory and helped establish a new paradigm in memory T cell biology.
Dr. Masopust's recent work showed that a heterologous prime boost strategy could elicit extraordinarily high levels of memory cytotoxic T lymphocytes in mice. He is currently collaborating to see if it can be adapted to immunizing and protecting macaques from a vaginal challenge with SIV.
The ICAAC Young Investigator Award will be presented during ASM's 49th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, September 12-15, 2009 in San Francisco, CA. ASM is the world's oldest and largest life science organization and has more than 43,000 members worldwide. ASM's mission is to advance the microbiological sciences and promote the use of scientific knowledge for improved health, economic, and environmental well-being.