ASU Alumni honor Roy Curtiss at 2014 Founders' Day

ASU Alumni honor Roy Curtiss at 2014 Founders' Day

March 5, 2014

March 5, 2014

The Founders' Day Faculty Research Award was presented last week to an ASU faculty member, Roy Curtiss, whose research is transforming health for individuals and communities in Arizona, the nation and the world.
 
ASU Biodesign Institute research and School of Life Sciences professor Roy Curtiss III has led a distinguished career in scientific research that has spanned more than a half-century. He was honored for his contributions to genetic engineering and his development of new vaccines that use neutralized modified salmonella (that is no longer able to cause disease as a vector) to deliver protective antigens. Such vaccines have proven to be safe and effective, and have the potential to greatly reduce the impact of diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and influenza, especially in developing nations. 
 
Attracted at a young age to the field of genetics, Dr. Curtiss earned his B.S. degree in agriculture from Cornell University and received his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Chicago. He has started guided bioscience departments to greater prominence at two schools — the University of Alabama, Birmingham and Washington University in St. Louis – and worked at two U.S. national laboratories: Brookhaven and Oak Ridge. He also started two biotech companies: MEGAN Health, Inc. and Molecular Engineering Associates, Inc. 
 
One of Dr. Curtiss’ most significant scientific achievements was to develop a strain of E. coli bacteria that addressed safety concerns in the early days of recombinant DNA and genetic engineering research. His laboratory was among the first to introduce bacterial genetics and recombinant DNA techniques into the study of bacterial pathogenesis, which explores the mechanics of how bacteria infect a host entity, and he is considered one of the founders of the field of modern microbial pathophysiology and genetics. His research led to discoveries of genes and gene products that can mediate the disease-causing capabilities of these pathogens. He has more than 360 journal articles to his credit, with more than 100 of the articles being published since he joined the ASU faculty in 2004.
 
Dr. Curtiss is also known as a generous, enthusiastic mentor and teacher. He has nurtured a large cadre of scientists over the past several generations, who have gone on to pursue successful careers in research, academia and government. 
 
In 2014, the following individuals were also honored by the Arizona State University Alumni Association at its annual Founders’ Day Awards Dinner:
 

Faculty Acheivement Awards
 
Faculty Achievement Service Award
 
Dr. Michael Dorman, Professor, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, College of Health Solutions
 
Dr. Michael S. Shafer, Professor, School of Social Work, College of Public Programs
Director, Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy
 
Faculty Achievement Teaching Award
 
Dr. Bertha Alvarez Manninen, Associate Professor of Philosophy, School of Humanities, Arts & Cultural Studies, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
 
Faculty Achievement Research Award
 
Dr. Roy Curtiss III, Professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
Director, Center for Microbial Genetic Engineering, Biodesign Institute.
Director, Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, Biodesign Institute.
 
Philanthropist Award
 
Philanthropist of the Year Award
 
Diane and Bruce Halle
 
Alumni Achievement Awards
 
Young Alumni Achievement Award
 
Dr. Javier Cárdenas ’99 B.A.E.
 
Alumni Achievement Award

Dr. Paul Larson ’90 B.S.

The award ceremony has been a signature event for the university for decades, and honors individuals who exemplify the spirit of the founders of the Territorial Normal School of Arizona, ASU’s predecessor institution, which received its charter from the Thirteenth Territorial Legislature on March 7, 1885.

 

Written by: Joe Caspermeyer