Scientist wins 2014 Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award for developing vaccine against meningococcal disease

Dan Granoff, MD, of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland's research arm CHORI, has been named the 2014 Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award Laureate by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Granoff is being recognized for his work on development of a vaccine against serogroup B meningococcus, which causes severe infections of the bloodstream (sepsis) and membranes covering the brain (meningitis). Granoff also played a central role in conceiving a project to develop an affordable serogroup A meningococcal conjugate vaccine for Africa, which has had enormous public health benefit. He will receive the award May 17th in Boston at ASM's annual meeting. He will also give the Hilleman/Merck lecture there on Tuesday May 20th.

"Granoff is greatly deserving of this award," says renowned physician Stanley Plotkin, who developed the vaccine for rubella. "He has made outstanding contributions to vaccine discovery and development, disease pathogenesis, and immune responses to vaccines, particularly meningococcal vaccines."

"We are extremely proud of the research directed by Dr. Granoff in developing vaccines to prevent meningococcal disease globally and locally," said Dr. Bertram Lubin, President & CEO of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakand. "His research will lead to prevention of thousands of deaths worldwide."

Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award is ASM's premier award for major contributions to pathogenesis, vaccine discovery, vaccine development, and/or control of vaccine-preventable diseases. The award is presented in memory of Maurice R. Hilleman, whose work in the development of vaccines has saved the lives of many throughout the world.

Granoff, a Senior Scientist at CHORI for 15 years, currently holds the Clorox Endowed Chair and is Director of the Center for Immunobiology and Vaccine Development at the institute. Before moving to Oakland, he was a professor of Pediatrics and associate professor of Molecular Microbiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He also served as director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Granoff received his A.B. and M.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University.

Committed to advancing public health, Granoff has served on national and international boards and committees for many organizations, including the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and World Health Organization. He is a member of ASM and the American Society of Clinical Investigation, as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, and the Infectious Diseases Society. Granoff is an author or co-author of over 195 peer-reviewed research articles in areas of microbial pathogenesis, antibody functional activity, and vaccine research. Granoff's laboratory focuses on studying the meningococcal factor H binding protein and genetic approaches to developing improved meningococcal outer membrane vesicle vaccines.

Source: Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland

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