Biodesign researcher, graduate student receive Fulbright honors

July 02, 2012

Bert Jacobs

Erica Hartmann

Bert Jacobs, Professor in the School of Life Sciences and the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology in the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, has been selected for a Fulbright Specialist’s project in the Republic of South Africa at the University of Cape Town during July 2012, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Professor Jacobs will provide lectures on the prospects for an HIV vaccine in the near future, and on HIV prevention education.

“The University of Cape Town has one of the most integrated HIV research programs in the world,” said Jacobs. “South Africa is the only place that has two things essential for an HIV research clinical trial. One, they have a good medical infrastructure that has been built up in the past few years. And the second is the high rate of HIV infection and devastating human toll of the disease, where, if you are going to test a vaccine, we can have the highest impact.” Jacobs’ research team is working on HIV research to develop several new vaccine candidates, and is hopeful that the information exchange will pave the way for future collaboration.

Professor Jacobs is one of over 400 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright Specialists Program. The Fulbright Specialists Program, created in 2000 to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, provides short-term academic opportunities (two to six weeks) to prominent U.S. faculty and professionals to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post secondary, academic institutions around the world.

Joining Jacobs as a Fulbright honoree is Erica Hartmann, who is completing her doctoral dissertation in the Biodesign Institute’s Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology and is the very first to have completed her Ph.D. in the Biological Design program. Hartmann will be performing research under the Fulbright U.S. student program at the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission, or CEA, a French public establishment similar to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Erica has an outstanding record of achievement, and already has 3 papers and 2 book chapters published,” said Rolf Halden, a researcher at Biodesign who served as Hartmann’s Ph.D. mentor. “She has accomplished a great deal and has a very bright academic future ahead of her.”

The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange activity, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over its 60 years of existence, thousands of U.S. faculty and professionals have taught, studied or conducted research abroad, and thousands of their counterparts from other countries have engaged in similar activities in the United States. Over 285,000 emerging leaders in their professional fields have received Fulbright awards, including individuals who later became heads of government, Nobel Prize winners, and leaders in education, business, journalism, the arts and other fields. 

For further information about the Fulbright Specialists Program, please contact or consult


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