The IOM 2021 Founders Award goes to Daniel R. Brown, Ph.D
Recipient of the IOM 2021 Founders Award for "outstanding efforts that promote the organization and contribute to advances in the science of mycoplasmology." Dr. Brown was a member of IOM 1993-2020 and served as chairman of the Board of Directors 2012-2014 as well as a member of the Student Travel Awards, Scientific Awards, Scientific Program, and Local Organizing Committees for prior IOM congresses. He has also chaired the International Research Program on Comparative Mycoplasmology team for New and Emerging Species, and the American Society for Microbiology's Mycoplasmology Division G. He served on the Executive Board of the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes 2005-2020 and chaired their Subcommittee on the Taxonomy of Mollicutes 2008-2019. Dr. Brown was a member of the Board of Trustees of Bergey's Trust 2009-2020, recipient of the 2020 Bergey Medal, and supervised a large group of IOM members who co-authored the chapters related to Phylum Tenericutes in the 2011 edition of Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology. Since 2013 Dr. Brown has served as curator of the IOM's Mollicutes Collection of Cultures and Antisera. He is co-author of numerous refereed publications and book chapters on the systematics and cellular microbiology of mycoplasmas.
The Emmy Klieneberger Nobel Award for outstanding research in Mycoplasmology goes to - Duncan Krause PhD
Duncan Krause earned degrees in Microbiology from Auburn University (B.S., 1978) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D., 1982). At UNC he studied Mycoplasma pneumoniae cytadherence and virulence with Joel Baseman, with an emphasis on mutant isolation and characterization. He received post-doctoral training with Herbert Winkler and David Wood at the University of South Alabama, cloning and analyzing the Rickettsia prowazekii ADP/ATP translocase in E. coli. In 1985 he joined the faculty of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Georgia, where he achieved the rank of Professor in 1995 and later served as Department Head (2000-2006) and Director of the Faculty of Infectious Diseases (2007-2015).
At the University of Georgia, Duncan’s major research emphasis was the architecture, assembly, and function of the terminal or attachment organelle of M. pneumoniae. His research team established a scaffolding role, subcellular location, and likely order of assembly for several proteins required for terminal organelle functional maturation; demonstrated that several of these proteins are phosphorylated, with protein kinase/phosphatase activity influencing gliding frequency; identified a DnaJ-like protein chaperone required for localization of functional P1 adhesin on the terminal organelle surface; and demonstrated through mutant analysis that the terminal organelle is both necessary and sufficient for gliding motility. Furthermore, through several very productive collaborations, his
8 research group correlated a change in density of P1 adhesin complexes on the terminal organelle surface with loss of terminal organelle function; described M. pneumoniae colonization of the conducting airways in a normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) model in air-liquid interface (ALI) culture, demonstrating the critical role of gliding motility while characterizing the infection process from the first few hours through persistence for up to 28 days; cataloged through glycomic analysis the availability and diversity of potential receptor moieties on NHBE cells; and characterized M. pneumoniae adherence and gliding on surfaces chemically functionalized with α-2,3- and α-2,6-sialyllactose ligated individually or in combination to a polymer scaffold in precisely controlled densities, providing a new model for detailed analysis of adhesin-receptor dynamics.
Duncan’s research was supported by continuous NIH funding from 1986-2020, and in 1990 he received an NIH Research Career Development Award. In 1999 he was awarded a UGA Creative Research Medal, and in 2009 he was selected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His first IOM congress was in 1986 in Birmingham, and his service to the IOM included Chair, IRPCM Human Mycoplasma Pathogenesis Team (1996-2002); Chair, IOM Congress Program Committee (2000-2002); IOM Board (2000-2004); IOM Meeting Chair for the 15th IOM Congress in Athens (2002-2004); and Principal Investigator for successful NIH grants for student travel to the 15th- 18th IOM Congresses.
Duncan and his wife, Robin, married in 1977. They have two children and seven grandchildren. In 2019 he retired as Emeritus Professor and currently lives in Durham, North Carolina
The Peter Hannan Award for outstanding research in applied clinical Mycoplasmology goes to Roger Dumke Ph.D.
Roger Dumke studied biology at the Universities of Rostock and Dresden (Germany) and received his PhD from the TU Dresden. In 1999, he joined Enno Jacob’s group that moved from the University of Freiburg to the TU Dresden and started the study of the fascinating cell wall-less mycoplasmas. Roger’s basic research activities focused on interactions of Mycoplasma pneumoniae to the host. He contributed to further characterization of the main P1 adhesin, vaccine development to prevent M. pneumoniae infections and the role of surface-localized moonlighting proteins in pathogenesis. In addition, Roger worked on methods to improve the molecular and serological detection of M. pneumoniae infections in patients. Since 2018, he leads the German reference laboratory for mycoplasma. He is recently working on different aspects of clinical mycoplasmology including long-term evaluation of resistance in M. pneumoniae, M. genitalium and Ureaplasma spp., typing of M. pneumoniae and M. genitalium, and standardization of methods. Roger was a member of Executive Committee of the former European Study Group for Mycoplasma Infections (ESGMI) from 2013 to 2018 and has been a member of the Scientific Program Committee for the 22nd and 23rd IOM congress.
The Robert F. Whitcomb Award for outstanding research in plant and insect Mycoplasmology goes to Chih-Horng Kuo
Chih-Horng Kuo’s research focuses on the evolutionary and functional genomics of host-associated bacteria. He received his PhD degree from the University of Georgia and postdoctoral training at the University of Arizona (USA). In 2010, he joined the Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology at Academia Sinica (Taiwan) as a principal investigator. For his pursuit of plant and arthropod mycoplasmology, he collaborated widely with other members of the International Organization for Mycoplasmology (IOM). For the studies of phytoplasmas, he and his collaborators greatly expanded the availability of genome sequences, and utilized those data sets to investigate the evolution and function of effector genes that are important in phytoplasma pathogenicity. They inferred the role of potential mobile units in the horizontal transfer of effector genes between different phytoplasmas, and conducted population genomics analysis to link the genetic polymorphisms with the phenotypic variations in plant disease symptoms. For their studies of arthropod Mollicutes, they reported the patterns of genome evolution that are unique to each of the Spiroplasma clades, and were pioneers in using transcriptomics to compare gene expression regulation between pathogenic and non-pathogenic species. Moreover, the comprehensive genomic characterization has led to the union of Mesoplasma with Entomoplasma, and provided insights into the emergence of Entomoplasma from Spiroplasma, as well as the emergence of the Mycoplasma Mycoides cluster from Entomoplasma.
In addition to research, Chih-Horng Kuo has been an active contributor to the international mycoplasmology communities. He serves as a member of the IOM board of directors (since 2016), the IOM congress scientific program committee (2018 and 2020), and the ICSP subcommittee on the taxonomy of Mollicutes (since 2017). He also serves as a team leader for IOM-IRPCM (since 2019), and facilitated conference organization for the Asian Organization of Mycoplasmology (AOM) and the Indian Association of Mycoplasmologists (IAM).
The Derrick Edward Award for outstanding research in Mycoplasmology by a young investigator goes to Brad Spiller PhD.
Brad Spiller first started working on Mycoplasmas in 2008, after changing fields from research in immune evasion of viruses. Brad was approached by Professor Sailesh Kotecha, a recently appointed neonatologist at his division at Cardiff University to help him determine important infections in premature neonates. He quickly formed a collaboration with the Health Protection Agency in London (now Public Health England) via their new recruit Dr. Victoria Chalker, who had recently completed a PhD in veterinary Mycoplasmology and was able to avail the archived collection of clinical Ureaplasma spp. to him for antimicrobial testing. In the decade that followed he has developed many excellent collaborations with additional established mycoplasmologists: John Glass, Kim Wise, Christine Citti, Cecile Bebear, Sabine Pereyre, Jorge Jores (to name only a few) and have created projects for several PhD students including Michael Beeton and Ali Aboklaish.
From the start, he found the IOM members welcoming and friendly and it was following the Chianciano Terme meeting that the chair-elect Prof. Joachim Frey asked him to join the executive board member-at-large for the biennium 2012-2014. During this time, his work attracted the attention of an NIH-funded Australian-based international consortium working for 18 years using pregnant sheep as a model of experimental infection and inflammation during pregnancy. In 2013, he joined a group of exceptional internationally renowned investigators led by Professors Alan Jobe and John Newnham and was awarded an adjunct Associate Professor position with the University of Western Australia. Some of his favourite projects arose from this long-running collaboration and led to his working alongside Dr. Sarah Stock, an obstetrician from University of Edinburgh (another member of the consortium). With Sarah, and their jointly supervised PhD student Yannis Pavlidis and they developed an ascending mouse model of Ureaplasma parvum infection, which could be visualised externally by luciferase expression leading to the Nature Communications publication in January this year. It gives him great pleasure to have raised the profile of Mollicutes research and hope that it attracts more young investigators to the pursuit of these unique and fascinating bacteria.
Brad is grateful for the support of his wife Lucy and his 4 lively and curious children: Lauren, Oliver, Callie and Braedon. He has also enjoyed supporting the IOM through the post of Secretary-General from 2014-2021, and is looking forward to his new post as Head of Medical Microbiology at Cardiff University from July 2020. Despite his greying hair, having only worked in the mycoplasmology field for 12 years at the time of the nomination –he finds it hilarious that he can still be recognized as a “young” investigator…..