In addition to such clinically focused questions, Hanage has worked extensively on the phenomenon of homologous recombination in bacteria, which shuffles genetic material among lineages, studying how it can be detected and its consequences for how bacteria respond in the face of novel selective pressures. "He has developed new methods for data analysis and combining molecular and traditional epidemiology," says Stephen Pelton, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Indeed, recombination or horizontal gene transfer makes the very notion of species problematic for bacteria, another of Hanage's major interests, one for which he was awarded a University Research Fellowship by the Royal Society. Hanage has also increasingly become involved with population genomic analyses of large numbers of very closely related pathogen isolates to probe in detail their patterns of transmission and diversification. His work on pathogen evolution was recognized with the 2012 Fleming Prize from the Society for General Microbiology. "Recently, Hanage has been among the pioneers of genomic epidemiology for bacterial pathogens. He exemplifies the combination of theoretical and experimental skills that will be fundamental to the future of infectious disease epidemiology," describes nominator Marc Lipsitch, Harvard School of Public Health.
"I believe Hanage's largest contributions have yet to come," says Pelton. "I think he will lead us to new insights into genetic regulation that permit specific clones of Streptococcus pneumoniae to successfully compete in the nasopharynx, to be more easily transmitted from person to person, and to evade host defenses to cause disease. I am confident that this will inform new approaches to treatment and disease prevention."
"Beyond his scientific
|Contact: Garth Hogan|
American Society for Microbiology