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The American Society for Microbiology honors Mario Santiago
Date:8/22/2012

The 2012 ICAAC Young Investigator Award designated for a researcher working in the area of HIV has been bestowed upon Mario L. Santiago, Ph.D., Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Colorado, Denver. Santiago is honored for his varied work in virology, from field-based HIV epidemiology studies to manipulating innate immunity in his efforts to explore innovative new ways to approach the challenge of the HIV vaccine. "Already at this early stage of his career, Santiago is demonstrating that he is one of the upcoming leaders in the field of retroviral resistance genes and their fascinating mechanisms of action," explains Kim Hasenkrug, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID.

Santiago graduated from the University of the Philippines magna cum laude with a BS in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. He then worked on schistosome and malaria vaccines as part of the NIH-sponsored Tropical Medicine Research Center in the Philippines and on HIV-1 molecular epidemiology as a Fogarty AIDS International Research fellow at Brown University. Santiago went on to receive his Ph.D. in Microbiology under Beatrice Hahn at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he developed noninvasive methods to detect Simian Immunodeficiency Virus in wild nonhuman primates, eventually leading to the discovery of the origins of HIV-1 and HIV-2 in wild chimpanzees and sooty mangabeys, respectively. "During his tenure, he painstakingly designed, tested and optimized strategies to noninvasively screen fecal and urine samples from wild monkeys and great apes for simian immunodeficiency viruses, which aided in our breakthrough understanding of the origins of HIV-1 and HIV-2," explains Hahn. "These findings resulted in fascinating high-profile publications and have revolutionized our perspective on the AIDS pandemic."

After receiving his Ph.D., Santiago completed two postdoctoral fellowships, first at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, then at the Gladstone Institute for
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Contact: Garth Hogan
ghogan@asmusa.org
American Society for Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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