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R. John Collier honored

Microbiologist wins $50,000 award from Bristol-Myers Squibb

Alison McCook(abmccook@yahoo.com)

A Harvard Medical School professor of microbiology and molecular genetics has won the 13th annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Infectious Diseases Research for his work, which has helped create new vaccines and, more recently, new approaches to treating anthrax.

R. John Collier provided the first evidence that toxins produced by many bacteria wreak their damaging effects from inside cells. The researcher also helped elucidate the three-dimensional structure of bacterial toxins and played a major role in uncovering the A-B paradigm, which describes how the penetrating toxin's two subunits work together to infiltrate the cell. His research helped others design vaccines to combat these bacteria, including those that cause pertussis.

More recently, Collier received attention for his work with the anthrax toxin, in which he identified a mutation that renders the toxin capable of both inhibiting nonmutated forms of the toxin and inducing the production of antibodies...

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