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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UNC Postdoc Receives Prestigious Award from International Cytokine and Interferon Society

Dr. Vineet Menachery, postdoctoral fellow in epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is one of four recipients of the Seymour and Vivian Milstein Young Investigator Award for notable contributions to cytokine research, presented by the International Cytokine and Interferon Society. He received the award at the Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco on Oct. 18.

[Photo: Dr. Vineet Menachery]

Dr. Menachery earned a doctorate in immunology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2010. Since then, he has worked in the laboratory of Gillings School epidemiology professor Dr. Ralph Baric.

His doctoral work focused on the immune response in the peripheral and central nervous systems following infection with herpes simplex virus. In Dr. Baric’s lab, Dr. Menachery has explored the host immune response to highly virulent respiratory viruses, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), influenza A virus strains H1N1 and H5N1, and the recently emerged Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Utilizing comparative systems biology, he identified a novel approach utilized by both influenza H5N1 and MERS-CoV to combat the host immune response through histone modification. Importantly, this research approach also may provide a rapid means to categorize the potential threat posed by current and future emerging respiratory viruses.

Dr. Menachery also has advanced new platforms for coronavirus treatments, the evaluation of new virus pathogenic potential and the role of host genetics in respiratory disease outcomes. Together, his research has the potential to produce important findings for the recognition, treatment and alleviation of emerging virus infections and human disease.

He is a recent recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, as well as a Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) from the National Institute of Aging.