Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Director at Mount Sinai elected to the NAS

May 10, 2019

Adolfo García-Sastre, PhD, Director of the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute, and the Irene and Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg Professor of Microbiology and Medicine (Infectious Diseases) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an honor signifying that a researcher has made outstanding contributions to the field. With his election, Mount Sinai has three current faculty members in the National Academy of Sciences: Dr. García-Sastre; Maria Iandolo New, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine (Endocrinology), and Genetic and Genomic Sciences; and Peter Palese, PhD, Horace W. Goldsmith Professor and Chair of Microbiology, and Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases).

For more than 20 years, Dr. García-Sastre has researched the molecular biology of influenza viruses and several other negative-strand RNA viruses. His landmark contributions include the successful development of reverse genetics techniques allowing the recreation of the extinct pandemic influenza virus of 1918 from recombinant DNA.

“It is with great honor that I congratulate my colleague Dr. Adolfo García-Sastre, who has made great contributes to science,” said Dr. Palese. “His work has enabled the reconstruction of the extinct 1918 influenza virus, has led to the identification of the biological role of the influenza virus NS1 protein as an interferon antagonist, and has informed continued efforts to develop a universal influenza virus vaccine. This is a great achievement and we are excited to see him continue this important work in the future.”

“Dr. Garcia-Sastre’s research represents the frontier of his field,” says Dennis S. Charney, MD, the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The discoveries made by him and others at Mount Sinai will result in powerful new means to combat deadly viruses that affect millions of people and lay the groundwork for discovery of viruses yet known. This distinguished achievement is well-deserved.”

Dr. Garcia-Sastre has researched the generation and evaluation of several vaccine candidates against different diseases, including influenza, malaria, AIDS, and cancer; and identified the biological role of the non-structural protein NS1 of the influenza virus during infection. His studies provided the first description and molecular analysis of a viral-encoded peptide among negative strand RNA viruses, which led to a generation of influenza viruses that may prove to be optimal live virus vaccines against influenza. His work has resulted in more than 500 scientific publications and reviews, and his translational efforts include more than 50 patents and the development of viral vaccines in the veterinary and human fields.

Dr. García-Sastre also serves as Director of the Center for Research on Influenza Pathogenesis, one of five National Institutes of Health Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance.

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