Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Profesor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; and professor of dermatology; is a 2019 recipient of the Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Interferon and Cytokine Research, given by the International Cytokine & Interferon Society (ICIS). The award recognizes her outstanding contributions to the field of immunology, particularly involving interferons and cytokines.
Iwasaki has made major discoveries in the areas of innate anti-viral immunity and mucosal immunity that have resulted in paradigm shifts in the understanding of the immune response and vaccine design. Specifically, she and her laboratory have revealed fundamental mechanisms spanning the activation, function and pathologic roles of type I interferons, from pregnancy to aging. A large body of her work is dedicated to revealing various aspects of interferons and cytokines in viral immunity and host physiology. Her work has direct relevance in several important infectious agents including herpes simplex virus (HSV), influenza virus, rhinovirus, Zika virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
In announcing Iwasaki’s award, ICIS says, “Her studies are characterized by originality and high impact. Her publications are highly cited and highly regarded by her colleagues. Most important, her discoveries have led the way to understand the immune response to important pathogens, with major implications for basic science and medicine.”
Iwasaki received her PhD from the University of Toronto in 1998, and did her postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health. She joined the Yale faculty in 2000, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
She will accept the honor in October at Cytokines 2019 in Vienna.