August, Russell elected to microbiology academy

Avery August, Ph.D. ’94, deputy provost and professor of microbiology and immunology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and David Russell, the William Kaplan Professor of Infection Biology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology (CVM), have been elected to the American Academy of Microbiology, the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology.

August and Russell are among 65 members of the class of 2023, which brings the total number of academy fellows to more than 2,600. Fellows represent all subspecialties of the microbial sciences and are involved in basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry and government service.

Avery August

David Russell

August, also chair of the Presidential Advisors on Diversity and Equity, and co-chair of the Presidential Task Force on Undergraduate Admissions, studies the regulation of immune responses by intracellular signaling, as well as the role of tyrosine kinases in the regulation of inflammation and anti-inflammation, and in T cell differentiation and memory development, with the goal of using this information to manipulate immune responses. August was recently elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

Russell, who was elected a fellow of AAAS in 2007, studies the interplay between the macrophage and the intracellular pathogens Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Russell’s lab has also developed an array of fluorescence-based phenotypic screens for drug discovery, including a high-throughput screening platform that enables interrogation of extensive compound libraries against intracellular Mtb. Russell’s drug discovery research was highlighted by Bill Gates in his address at the Grand Challenges annual meeting in Brussels in October. A faculty member at Cornell since 2000, Russell chaired the Department of Microbiology and Immunology from 2000-10.

The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences and is composed of 30,000 scientists and health practitioners. ASM’s mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

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Rebecca Valli