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Charles Donovan Microbiome Prize

The Charles Donovan Microbiome Prize was established in 2015 to acknowledge individuals who have made a significant contribution to microbiome science. The award recipient 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").    


The Charles Donovan Microbiome Prize Winners

2023 recipient Prof. Ruth Ley

Prize winner 2023 apc

Professor Ruth Ley was awarded the 2023 Charles Donovan Microbiome Prize and delivered the Distinguished International APC Lecture at the 2023 APC Annual Symposium on Friday 27th October. The title of her talk was “A shared evolutionary history for humans and microbes”

Professor Ley is the current Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, and the Director of the Department of Microbiome Science. Her research team performs basic science research into the ecology and evolution of the human gut microbiome.  Her post-doctoral work at Washington University School of Medicine with Dr. Jeffrey Gordon was the first to link the microbial ecology of the gut to health and disease, with pioneering research on obesity in mice and humans.  During her time at Cornell University, her lab made the first observations of the role of the gut microbiome in pregnancy, and the first links between human genetic diversity and the microbiome. Now at the Max Planck Institute for Biology, her work continues to reveal fundamental insights into the gut microbiome.




2022 recipient Prof Yasmine Belkaid  

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. 





2021 recipient Prof Jeff Gordon  

Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD was awarded the 2021 Charles Donovan Microbiome Prize and delivered the Distinguished International APC Lecture at the 2021 APC Autumn Symposium on Thursday 9th September. The title of this talk is 'Microbiota-directed complementary foods for treating childhood undernutrition'.  

Professor Gordon was recognised for his pioneering work on human gut microbial communities and how this has shaped our understanding of the relationship between our gut microbiome, health and disease. This work has probed the complex interactions between diet, environment and the microbiome, particularly in the context of two global health challenges - Childhood malnutrition and obesity.




2018 recipient Prof Graham Rook

2016 recipient Prof Dusko Elrich

2015 recipient Prof Marty Blaser

Host Institution

Host Logos - UCC and Teagasc

Partner Institutions

APC Microbiome Ireland

Biosciences Building, University College Cork, Ireland,