Whitehead Member Hidde Ploegh honored for immunology research

January 24, 2011

Tags: Ploegh LabAwards + Announcements

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) has named Whitehead Institute Member Hidde Ploegh the recipient of its 2011 Meritorious Career Award.

The award, technically known as the AAI-Life Technologies Meritorious Career Award (supported by a grant from Life Technologies Corporation), recognizes a mid-career scientist for outstanding research contributions to the field of immunology.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity to work in this area on topics that I find interesting, for the fact that I can convince students and postdocs to share in this effort, and I particularly appreciate the recognition from my immunology colleagues, most of all the folks in the lab who've made it happen,” says Ploegh, whose work has been highlighted by the development of novel tools and models to track immune response and host-pathogen interactions.

Ploegh was nominated for the award by Harvard University Professor of Biochemistry Jack Strominger, who wrote in his submission:

For the last 25 years, Dr. Ploegh has made profound contributions to our understanding of antigen presentation by both MHC Class I and Class II proteins and, most importantly, to our understanding of mechanisms used by viruses to subvert host immunological defenses.  At the same time, this work has profoundly illuminated the cell biology of the misfolded protein response.

In support of the nomination, Harvard Medical School Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Frederick W. Alt stated: “Ploegh’s body of work (with over 400 publications) has been compelling and unique in the use of truly multidisciplinary approaches that incorporate techniques from immunology, cell biology, the study of infectious diseases, and the creative application of chemical tools. While Ploegh’s discoveries have provided a better understanding of basic immunology, they have also offered new applications for better vaccines and small molecule-based therapeutics for the treatment of infectious diseases.”

Ploegh is slated to receive a cash award of $10,000 and deliver a special lecture at the AAI Annual Meeting in San Francisco this May.

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Hidde Ploegh's primary affiliation is with Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where his laboratory is located and all his research is conducted. He is also a professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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