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Tag: awards

Two CTEGD faculty members receive Creative Research Awards

Jessica Kissinger and Dennis Kyle received the Lamar Dodd Creative Research Award during UGA’s Honors Week. The award recognizes established investigators whose overall scholarly body of work has had a major impact on the field of study and has established the investigator’s international reputation as a leader in the field.

Jessica Kissinger, Distinguished Research Professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ genetics department and former director of the UGA Institute of Bioinformatics, has focused her interdisciplinary career on the question of how parasites evolve. She has been a driving force behind the groundbreaking effort to create and maintain novel bioinformatics databases covering omics data for hundreds of dangerous pathogens. The Eukaryotic Pathogen, Vector, and Host Informatics Resources knowledgebase ( is an integrated, centralized resource for data mining on more than 500 organisms. Databases searches are free, permitting researchers to gain insights into and test hypotheses that may pave the way for new approaches to treating or preventing diseases such as malaria and Cryptosporidium (a waterborne parasite). Kissinger has used the databases and other bioinformatics tools to make remarkable discoveries.

Dennis E. Kyle, professor of cellular biology and infectious diseases in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine, is one of the top parasitologists in the world. Kyle serves as director of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, and some of his most recent work focuses on discovery of new drugs that eliminate dormant vivax malaria that can linger in the liver. His group has discovered new drug series that target the dormant liver stages and is moving these novel therapeutics through preclinical studies. He also works on Naegleria fowleri, a rare but deadly parasite known as “brain-eating amoebae.” More than 97% of people infected with these amoebae die within two weeks. Kyle has conducted research into that pathogen, leading to effective repurposed drugs and the first rapid, sensitive diagnostic method.


First appeared in 2024 Research Awards

Noelia Lander receives research award

Noelia Lander, a cellular biologist and postdoctoral researcher in Roberto Docampo‘s laboratory, has received the 2020 Postdoctoral Award from the UGA Research Foundation.

Lander has used her research to advance understanding of a dangerous parasite affecting millions of people worldwide. She adapted the CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing system for the study of Trypanosoma cruzi, a human parasite that causes Chagas disease. In widely cited research, she proved the usefulness of this new gene-editing system and its range of applications in T. cruzi, which historically had been difficult to manipulate. Dozens of Chagas molecular biology labs worldwide use her CRISPR/Cas9 strategy to study the parasite’s proteins, characterize its metabolic pathways, understand its biology and search for new chemotherapeutic targets. More recently, she has used her system to study protein function and calcium signaling in T. cruzi. She has trained laboratory personnel and students in scientific research and is currently conducting the mentored phase of an NIH Pathway to Independence Award.

Created in 2011, Postdoctoral Research Awards recognize the remarkable contributions of postdoctoral research scholars to the UGA research enterprise. The UGA Research Foundation funds up to two awards a year to current scholars.

UGA receives life sciences industry awards from Georgia Bio

By Allyson Mann

The University of Georgia was well represented at the Georgia Bio Awards, with five awards recognizing programs either at or affiliated with the university. The awards were presented by Georgia Bio, the association for Georgia’s life sciences industry, at its 2018 annual awards dinner Feb. 15 in Atlanta.

This year, two UGA units—the Center for Vaccines and Immunology and the Center for Tropical & Emerging Global Diseases—received awards, as did ArunA Biomedical, a biotechnology company that grew out of faculty research. The university also is affiliated with two additional award winners, the Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance and the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies.

Georgia Bio members include pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies; medical centers; universities and research institutes; government groups; and other business organizations involved in the development of life sciences-related products and services.

“Improving human health and welfare is a vitally important part of UGA’s land-grant mission in the 21st century, and we have worked hard to expand our capabilities in this regard,” said UGA Vice President for Research David Lee. “It is gratifying to receive these awards from Georgia Bio, as they testify to the impact of our programs and the success of the faculty responsible for them.”

Ted M. Ross accepted the Phoenix Award, presented jointly to the Center for Vaccines and Immunology (CVI) and Sanofi Pasteur. Recipients of the Phoenix Award, sponsored by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and celebrating the best in industry and academic collaboration, have forged academic and industry relationships that drive translation and lead to new treatments and cures. Ross is Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar of Infectious Disease and director of CVI, which is dedicated to improving human and animal health through new and improved vaccine technologies.

Two Deals of the Year Awards were presented in recognition of financial or commercial transactions that are significant to the development of Georgia’s life sciences industry. The first was awarded to the Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance (Georgia CTSA), a team comprising UGA, Emory University, the Morehouse School of Medicine and the Georgia Institute of Technology that will train new investigators and develop the infrastructure for accelerating research-based improvements in clinical care and outcomes for the benefit of Georgia citizens. Bradley Phillips, the Millikan-Reeve Professor of Pharmacy and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Unit, is UGA’s principal investigator for Georgia CTSA, which received a $51 million National Institutes of Health statewide grant.

The second Deals of the Year Award was presented to the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT), which received a $20 million grant. CMaT is a federally funded consortium based at the Georgia Institute of Technology and designed to lower the cost and improve the reliability and safety of advanced cell therapies for chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. The UGA lead for CMaT is Steven Stice, director of the Regenerative Bioscience Center, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Stice also accepted an Innovation Award for ArunA Biomedical, a biotechnology company he founded. ArunA Biomedical are experts in the design and scaling of a new class of cell-free biologic therapeutics and neural-specific drug delivery systems to treat central nervous system injury and neurodegenerative disorders. The Innovation Award honors those who are forging new ground by thinking outside traditional paradigms to create unique technology.

The Center for Tropical & Emerging Global Diseases received a Community Award, presented to those whose contributions to Georgia’s life sciences community are worthy of special recognition. Directed by Dennis Kyle, CTEGD is one of the largest international centers of research focused on diseases of poverty common to undeveloped and poor regions of the world. CTEGD researchers work on diseases that afflict hundreds of millions of people around the globe, including malaria, schistosomiasis, African sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, cryptosporidiosis, toxoplasmosis, leishmaniasis and filariasis.

Originally published at