The winner of the 2013 GlaxoSmithKline International Member of the Year Award is Xavier Nassif, M.D., Ph.D., Medical School Paris Descartes and the Hospital Necker-Enfants Malades, France. The GSK Award recognizes an active international member of ASM for dedication to the education, communication, research, and advancement of microbiology to the international community. As a molecular microbiologist, Nassif has had a strong impact on fundamental research on bacterial pathogens and as a mentor he has left a lasting impression on young international scientists. According to C.J. Maiden, University of Oxford, Nassif’s “commitment to applying the latest research approaches to clinical problems has been outstanding and his contributions have been thoughtful and imaginative.”
In 1987 Nassif obtained his Medical Degree from the Medical School Necker-Enfants Malade. A few years later he received his Ph.D. and completed his training in infectious diseases at the Pasteur Institute. After postdoctoral fellowships at Scripps Clinic in San Diego and Oregon Health Sciences University, he joined the faculty at the Medical School Paris Descartes where he remains today. Currently he is heading an INSERM unit interested in the pathogenesis of bacterial systemic infections.
As a leader in the field, Nassif has had important research discoveries. Fred Sparling, University of North Carolina, says Nassif’s work has been influential. Sparling goes on to say “in pathogenesis, his work on adherence and pili, including the role of the minor pilin proteins PilC and PilT, is particularly impressive. He showed the importance of pilin modifications (glycosylation) to function. He was among the early leaders in studies of the molecular genetic "islands" that distinguish different clinical isolates and contribute greatly to their virulence.”
In addition to his research accomplishments, Nassif is also a member of ASM. He is a regular attender of both the ASM General Meeting and the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC). Maiden says, “having worked in the US Nassif maintains a regular contact with the ASM and is an enthusiastic participant of the ASM community.” He has served on various international panels and advisory groups dealing with vaccines. According to his nominator, William Shafer, Emory University, Nassif is also “an outstanding communicator who delivers high quality lectures and seminars.” With his paper published in high impact journals, Nassif’s contribution to bacterial pathogens and clinical microbiology continues to be impressive.