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Andres Vazquez-Torres honored with 2004 Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award

WASHINGTON, DC--APRIL 23, 2004--Andres Vazquez-Torres, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Microbiology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC), Denver, will receive the 2004 Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Merck Research Laboratories, Inc., two Sigal Awards are presented for excellence in basic research in medical microbiology and infectious disease. The awards are given in memory of Irving S. Sigal, who was instrumental in the early discovery of therapies to treat human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS.

Although still in the early stages of his career as a researcher and teacher, Vazquez-Torres is already well known as a leader in studying how Candida and Salmonella cause disease, and how a host tries to fight off infections by these important pathogens. While completing his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin, he worked on host-parasite interactions in mucosal and systemic candidiasis. He and his colleagues published several articles on the interactions between Candida albicans and macrophages (cells that help the body fight infection). Their research detailed the ways in which nitric oxide contributes to resistance to candidiasis and the effects of peroxynitrite on the ability of macrophages kill off Candida.

At present, Vazquez-Torres is studying the mechanisms of Salmonella infection and Salmonella's response to defenses mounted by the infected host. He found that one species, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, can even deflect the movement of phagocytes and other structures in the body that emit chemicals designed to help immobilize the infection. In another facet of his research, Vazquez-Torres discovered a new pathway by which cells in the affected host are able to "sample" the intestinal lumen, migrate to the spleen, and trigger a systemic immune responses to microbes that these cells have encountered in
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Contact: Barbara Hyde
bhyde@asmusa.org
202-942-9206
American Society for Microbiology
30-Apr-2004


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