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Thursday, January 30, 2014

University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine Professor Earns AAVMC Excellence in Research Award




Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a professor of virology at
the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of
Veterinary Medicine

Washington, D.C.,  January 30, 2014 –  The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) announced today that Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a professor of virology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, is the recipient of the 2013-2014 AAVMC Excellence in Research Award. Selected by a committee of peers, the honor designates Dr. Kawaoka as the outstanding veterinary medical researcher of the year.

The AAVMC Board of Directors established the annual research award in 2010 to recognize outstanding research and scholarly achievements in the field of veterinary medicine. It recognizes an individual who, over the course of his or her career, has demonstrated excellence in original research, leadership in the scientific community, and mentoring of trainees and colleagues in any discipline of veterinary medicine.

The award will be presented during the AAVMC Annual Conference on Friday, March 14, at the Westin Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia.

“Dr. Kawaoka’s scholarly achievements as a veterinary scientist are extraordinary,” said Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and president of the AAVMC. “His groundbreaking work on influenza and his contributions to understanding the relationship of animal and human influenzas is a prime example of research that crosses boundaries by advancing both animal and human health.”

Dr. Kawaoka’s work focuses on better understanding naturally occurring viruses to help government and health agencies improve measures for protecting the population. He achieved global attention in 2011 when he and an international team of researchers showed that the avian H5N1 influenza virus could become transmissible in mammals after just a few genetic mutations.

In 2013, Kawaoka and his team collaborated with the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan to conduct a genetic analysis of the avian H7N9 flu virus, which has been linked to several deaths in China. The analysis revealed that the virus can evolve and adapt to human cells, prompting concerns about its potential to launch a global flu pandemic. That same year he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences as a foreign associate.

“I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for this award,” wrote University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine Dean and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor Dr. Mark D. Markel, in nominating Dr. Kawaoka for the award.  “(His) work has been at the cutting edge of biosecurity for animals and humans and has altered thinking about investigating the pathogenesis of viral infections.”

Dr. Kawaoka has actively mentored many students and published more than 450 peer-reviewed research articles, 100 review articles and book chapters and numerous abstracts in some of the world’s foremost scientific journals, including Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cell, Science and many others.

He earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from The Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, Japan, and his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Hokkaido University in Japan.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Its members include 35 veterinary medical colleges in the United States and Canada, nine departments of veterinary science, eight departments of comparative medicine, thirteen international colleges of veterinary medicine, and six affiliate colleges of veterinary medicine: www.aavmc.org

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CONTACT:
Jeff Douglas or Jeanne Johnson:  
202/371-9195, x 144 (office)
Email:  jjohnson@aavmc.org