The winner of the 2014 Eli Lilly and Company-Elanco Research Award is Katherine Fitzgerald, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester. ASM's oldest and most esteemed prize is awarded to a young scientist who has demonstrated outstanding, fundamental research of unusual merit in microbiology or immunology. “Fitzgerald’s research has led to a new understanding of innate immunity, making her a well deserving recipient of this prestigious honor,” says Robert Finberg, University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Fitzgerald received her B.S. degree in 1995 from the University College Cork, Ireland and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1999 at Trinity College Dublin. Her post-doctoral studies were conducted in the laboratory of Luke O’Neill, where she studied the molecular basis of signal transduction in innate immunity and inflammatory pathways. After completing her post-doctoral studies, Fitzgerald joined the Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Massachusetts Medical School as a recipient of a Wellcome Trust International Award. In 2004 she became Assistant Professor and is currently Professor of Medicine and co-director of the Program in Innate Immunity. She won the 2003 International Cytokine Society Young Investigator Award and in 2014 she won the American Association of Immunologists BD-Biosciences Investigator Award.
Research in the Fitzgerald laboratory is focused on all things related to innate immunity and the inflammatory process, with signal transduction and gene regulation being her area of expertise. Her work focuses on understanding both the basic biology of innate immunity and its contribution to human disease. Her interdisciplinary approach reflects a highly collaborative style.