Two Department of Medicine faculty have been elected as 2021 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for their distinguished contributions to the sciences: Marisa Alegre, MD ,PhD, Professor of Medicine (Section of Rheumatology) and Yoav Gilad, PhD, Professor of Medicine & Chief, Section of Genetic Medicine; and Vice Chair for Research. They were among 9 University of Chicago researchers and 564 fellows elected as AAAS members for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications.
Dr. Alegre explores the molecular mechanisms involved in transplant success or failure. She studies the role of immune T cells in transplant rejection and tolerance, autoimmune disorders, and cancer. For example, her lab found that infections or inflammation can interfere with transplant success by activating T cells that can reject the organ. She also found that the microbiota influences how the immune system responds to transplanted organs—and can be targeted to prolong the survival of the graft.
She is being recognized by AAAS for “distinguished contributions at the interface of basic immunology and transplantation science and therapeutic modalities for transplantation.”
Dr. Gilad is the dean for Biomedical and Health Informatics in the BSD. As dean, Gilad focuses on the development and oversight of a strategic and forward-looking core facility to provide state-of-the-art research-informatics services, expert consultation, and flexible models to support collaboration with faculty.
Trained as a molecular and evolutionary geneticist, he began his research career investigating the correlation between DNA sequence variation and disease.
His lab now studies human disease and evolution using cutting-edge empirical and computational genomic techniques, focused on understanding the genetics of complex phenotypes and the potential for personalized medicine using genomic sequencing, genome informatics, and functional genomics tools.
The AAAS recognized him for “pioneering contributions in comparative transcriptomics studies and seminal contributions to our understanding of regulatory mechanisms and their contributions to human common disease.”