The presentation of the six yearly major ISAR awards is one of the highlights of every ICAR. Hybrid 2022 ICAR Seattle will not be an exception, with an outstanding roster of major awardees giving keynote lectures next March in Seattle, including ISAR second Diversity Awardee, Dr. J. Victor García-Martinez.
Last year, ISAR instituted a new major award to recognize, support and encourage groups of people who have been under-represented in STEM and who thus have had to overcome bigger hurdles than many to succeed, including members of ethnical, cultural, or gender minorities. The seed funding for the award was provided by ISAR and generous donations from two major ISAR 2020 Awardees, Drs. Ann Kwong (Gertrude Elion Memorial Award) and President-Elect Kathie Seley-Radtke (Antonín Holý Memorial Award). ISAR welcomes further support for the continuation of the Diversity Award.
The Diversity Award complements the Women in Science Award created in 2017. Both awards together aim to lower the barriers for all people to have access to a successful career in antiviral discovery, research, and development, and thus to increase diversity in antiviral discovery, research, and development. The ultimate goal is to improve antiviral research and development for the benefit of all human beings.
The Diversity Speaker Award is bestowed onto a scientist of any group historically underrepresented in in their field of research and our Society who has made outstanding contributions to the field of antiviral research. The Diversity Speaker Awardee is granted based on scientific prominence and leadership in their respective scientific area. The nominee must therefore be a scientist who has made significant contributions to Antiviral Research and is recognized in their field for high impact science, as determined by number and quality of publications and presentations at national or international meetings. Leadership in promoting or increasing diversity for scientists is considered highly favorably but not required, although the awardee is encouraged to then play a leading role in mentoring minorities in science.
The first Diversity awardee was Dr. Craig Cameron, who then kindly joined ISAR diversity committee. ISAR, including the Diversity and ICAR program committees, proudly announces our second diversity awardee, Dr. J. Victor García-Martinez.
J. Victor García-Martinez uses humanized mouse models, including recently developed humanized-lung mice, to study the pathogenesis of human viruses and therapeutic interventions for the diseases they cause. Dr. Garcia uses these models to study an array of human respiratory pathogens including RSV, CMV, influenza, MERS, SARS, SARS-CoV-2, and tuberculosis.
Humans have been constantly challenged through evolution by emerging or re-emerging viral pathogens. Although the immune system mostly protects us, viruses can circumvent it and cause lethal cancers (EBV, KSHV, HCV), hemorrhagic fevers (Ebola virus), AIDS (HIV) and respiratory diseases (influenza, SARS, MERS, SARS-CoV-2), for example. A good understanding of the host pathogen relationship at a cellular level provides solid bases for rational approaches to therapy and vaccine development, as well as a better understanding of human biology and immunology. Dr. J. Victor Garcia- Martinez is interested in learning how human viruses cause cancer, how HIV causes AIDS, including why the immune system does not fully control viral infections, and how coronaviruses cause human disease. His overarching hypothesis is that specific viral genes are the key determinants of pathogenesis and thus responsible for disease progression. To test this hypothesis, he has developed several in vivo models that recapitulate specific aspects of viral infection, with an emphasis on precise animal models to study human pathogenesis and evaluate novel therapeutic interventions.
Dr. J. Victor García-Martinez is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and his contributions to Inclusion and Diversity have been recognized by the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Society for Cell Biology. He is also the Director of the International Center for the Advancement of Translational Science. Dr. J. Victor García-Martinez has trained over 13 PhD students 40 postdoctoral fellows (past and present), who now hold positions in industry, government, and academic institutions.
Please join ISAR in celebrating diversity and congratulating Dr. J. Victor García-Martinez on his Award, and schedule ahead to attend his keynote presentation at the upcoming hybrid ICAR in Seattle.
January 12, 2022
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