Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, PhD, a member of the Immunology Department at St. Jude Children's Hospital, received the 2018 Eli Lilly and Company-Elanco Research Award, the American Society for Microbiology's oldest and most prestigious prize.
In addition, she was also recognized by the Society for Leukocyte Biology with the 2017 Dolph O. Adams Award, which recognizes excellence in research into cellular and molecular mechanisms of host defense and inflammation.
Kanneganti, who joined the St. Jude faculty in 2007, leads a lab that studies the fundamentals of innate immunity, the body's first line of defense against infection. Her work explores how our body and the immune system respond to infectious diseases, and has proven critical in determining how our immune system affects the development of several debilitating diseases, including cancer.
The award stated, in part, "Kanneganti is a visionary scientific leader who has made major discoveries in understanding how foreign nucleic acids and other microbial products trigger inflammasome activation and inflammation."
Research from her lab has been published in more than 190 original peer-reviewed publications, with many of the studies appearing in top-ranking scientific journals. She is a regularly invited speaker at scientific conferences around the world and serves as the Chair of the National Institute of Health Innate Immunity and Inflammation study section.
"Her efforts are highly regarded in the immunology community and her research has helped raise the profile of our department," said Peter Doherty, PhD, Emeritus faculty member in the Department of Immunology and Nobel Laureate.