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Prof Yasmine Belkaid awarded the prestigious 2022 Charles Donovan Microbiome Prize

14 Oct 2022

Prof Yasmine Belkaid awarded the prestigious 2022 Charles Donovan Microbiome Prize

World-leading microbiome researcher Prof Yasmine Belkaid was awarded the prestigious 2022 Charles Donovan Microbiome Prize on Friday 7th October. As part of the prizegiving Prof Belkaid delivered the ‘Distinguished International Lecture’ at the annual symposium of APC Microbiome Ireland, a World-leading SFI Research Centre, which took place at University College Cork.

Professor Belkaid is an immunologist and senior investigator at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on investigating how the immune system distinguishes beneficial microbes from pathogens in both the gut and on the skin. She has led the field in identifying mechanisms through which such microbes can prime the immune system to better defend against pathogens and parasites. Overall, her work has shed much light on the basic mechanistic understanding of how microbes can influence chronic inflammatory diseases and how differences in microbial communities can contribute to, or protect against, aberrant immune responses in the gut and on the skin.

Director of APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre Professor Paul Ross said “Professor Belkaid is a pioneer in microbiome research, she has been investigating the importance and impact of the microbiota prior to the area being established as an instrumental component of health and wellbeing. She is widely considered a major leader in the microbiome space and here at APC we wanted to acknowledge the important contribution she has made to global microbiome research which naturally influences the research carried out here at APC.”

The Charles Donovan Microbiome Prize was established in 2015 to acknowledge individuals who have made a significant contribution to microbiome science. The award winner delivers the Distinguished International APC Lecture which is the keynote at the annual APC Scientific Symposium. Charles Donovan MD (19 September 1863 - 29 October 1951) was an Irish medical officer in the Indian Medical Service. Leishmania donovani is his best-known discovery, related to visceral leishmaniasis and donovanosis respectively. He was born in Calcutta in 1863 and went to live with his grandfather in Ireland in 1879. He went on to study at Queen's College, Cork which is now University College Cork. In 1891, he received a commission in the Indian Medical Service developing a particular interest in tropical diseases. In 1903 he described the causative agent of kala-azar, later known as the "Leishman-Donovan" body and, in 1905 he reported his findings on granuloma inguinale ("Donovanosis").

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