Winner of the 2014 ASM Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by AbbVie) is Roy Curtiss III, Ph.D., Arizona State University, Phoenix, for the impact he has had on microbiology through his research and service to the field. Specifically, he pioneered efforts at the start of the recombinant DNA era by developing safe E.coli strains that could be used for gene cloning. This breakthrough helped alleviate public safety concerns about this new technology.
Curtiss is Professor of Life Sciences and Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology and the Center for Microbial Genetic Engineering in the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. He received his B.S. from Cornell University and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His current research focuses on the genetics and molecular biology of bacterial pathogens, the design, construction, and evaluation of recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccines to prevent animal and human infectious diseases, and host immune responses to infection by pathogens and vaccines. Curtiss holds multiple patents, including the first U.S. patent issued for a genetically modified (micro)organism, and the first platform patents on genetically engineered attenuated bacteria to deliver protective antigens against infectious diseases caused by bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic pathogens. For his work he has been honored with several awards, most recently the Rubbo Medallion from the Australian Society for Microbiology. He is an elected Fellow of several institutions, including the American Academy of Microbiology, as well as a member of the National Academy of Sciences.