University of Georgia researcher Silvia Moreno, a member of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases and a Distinguished Research Professor in cellular biology, has been elected as a 2021 American Academy of Microbiology Fellow. Holding courtesy appointments in microbiology and infectious diseases, Moreno also serves as director of the NIH-funded Training in Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases program.
“This is an honor that represents the hard work and commitment of the members of my lab, past and present,” said Moreno.
Her research focuses on the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause encephalitis and cardiogenic shock in immunocompromised patients and can result in devastating birth defects in children born from infected pregnant women. Almost a third of the human population is infected. The parasite also infects cats, dogs and cattle.
In particular, Moreno’s laboratory is interested in discovering unique metabolic differences that can be used as targets for chemotherapy as current treatment options are for only one phase of the disease and have harmful side effects.
In 2018, she was named a corresponding member of the Latin American Academy of Sciences. Since 2015, she has been leading the Training in Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases program which is funded by an NIH T32 training grant. In the most recent competing renewal of the grant, CTEGD was awarded $1.9 million.
Under Moreno’s leadership the program has expanded to provide fellowships to seven graduate students and two post-doctoral fellows, a mini-sabbatical program for faculty members of local colleges with a higher proportion of diversity students to offer undergraduates and faculty research experience, and organize a number of professional development workshops.
Moreno joins more than 2,500 AAM fellows who are elected through a highly selective, peer-reviewed process, based on their record of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced the field of microbiology. Of the 150 researchers nominated this year, only 65 were elected to the 2021 Fellowship Class.