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American Society for Microbiology honors Gene M. Shearer

The 2010 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology is presented to Gene M. Shearer, Ph.D., Chief, Cell Mediated Immunity Section, Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, for his research on HIV pathogenesis. Sponsored by Abbott Laboratories' Diagnostics Division, this award recognizes a distinguished scientist in clinical or diagnostic immunology for outstanding contributions.

Shearer is renowned for his research on HIV pathogenesis. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and began his career at the NIH in 1972. During the AIDS epidemic, Shearer's research showed that the HIV infection leads to biologically important CD4+ T cell dysfunction prior to the loss of such cells and the onset of the clinical disease. His work showed the important role for immune dysregulation in HIV pathogenesis. Shearer defined the molecular mechanisms underlying such dysfunction and developed novel therapeutic approaches using HIV peptides to restore HIV specific immunity.

Shearer presumed that HIV averted immune destruction by initiating progression from a more protective TH1 response to a TH2 response and he was the first to grasp the importance of the innate immune response in control of HIV infection and the negative impact of interferon alpha. Recently, his work has shown that HIV drives immune activation and inflammation which promotes the development of AIDS and non-AIDS co morbidities. His insight have shaped our understanding of the immune response to HIV and has provided a focus for development of immune-based therapy and vaccines.

The Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology will be presented during the 110th General Meeting of the ASM, May 23-27, 2010 in San Diego, 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 and economic and environmental well-being.


Contact: Garth Hogan
American Society for Microbiology

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