A 2009 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award is being presented to George Liu, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center/UCLA. Sponsored by Merck Research Laboratories, the Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award is presented in memory of Irving S. Sigal, who was instrumental in the early discovery of therapies to treat HIV/AIDS, to recognize excellence in basic research in medical microbiology and infectious diseases.
Dr. Liu is honored for his work on microbial pathogenesis and novel antibacterial therapies. His early successful graduate work was the investigation of the mechanism of immunologic tolerance in a model of autoimmunity. His novel concept that the low affinity of certain autoantigenic peptides could provide a basis for the existence of autoreactive T cells in humanshad an impact on the field of autoimmunity.
Dr. Liu's research training and clinical experience led to his studies of host-pathogen interaction. He worked on dissecting the function of Group B streptococcus (GBS) hemolysin. He showed that this toxin has an unusual dose effect that causes lysis of phagocytes at a higher dose, apoptosis at an intermediate dose, and downregulation of inflammation at a low dose. The golden color imparted by carotenoid pigments of Staphylococcus aureus became the next focus of Dr. Liu's work. He demonstrated a role of this hallmark phenotype in virulence.
Dr. Liu received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, England and his M.D. from the University of California, San Diego.
|Contact: Garth Hogan|
American Society for Microbiology