Michaela Gack, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, has been presented with a 2014 Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award. Given in honor of Irving Sigal, who was instrumental in the early discovery of therapies to treat HIV/AIDS, Gack has won this award for increasing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that govern innate immune sensing and immune evasion of the influenza virus. As Jae Jung, University of Southern California, states, “Gack is full of early achievement and future potential.”
Gack obtained a master’s degree in Molecular Medicine from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. In 2008, she received her Ph.D. in Molecular Virology from the collaborative graduate training program between the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, and Harvard Medical School (HMS). Her postdoctoral studies, conducted at the University of Southern California, unveiled a novel immune evasion mechanism of influenza A virus and also emphasized the vital role of TRIM25 in modulating viral infections.
Since February 2011, she has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at HMS, where she continues to investigate the type-I interferon-mediated innate immune responses and viral immune escape mechanisms.
For her academic achievements in the fields of virology and innate immunity, Gack received several awards including the GE & Science Prize for Young Life Scientists, the 2013 Junior Investigator Award from the European Society for Virology, and the Ann Palmenberg Junior Investigator Award 2013 from the American Society for Virology. Furthermore, since 2012, Gack has been an Associate Editor for the journal PLoS Pathogens.