James Crowe’s antibody research lands American Society for Microbiology AwardSep. 13, 2023, 10:23 AM
by Bill Snyder
For his team’s groundbreaking innovations in developing human monoclonal antibodies to treat viral diseases, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s James Crowe Jr., MD, will receive the 2024 American Society for Microbiology Award for Applied and Biotechnological Research.
The award, which recognizes an outstanding scientist with distinguished research achievements in the development of products, processes and technologies that have advanced the microbial sciences, will be presented at the 2024 ASM Microbe meeting to be held in June in Atlanta.
Crowe is the Ann Scott Carell Professor, professor of Pediatrics and Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology and director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center.
He and his colleagues have developed cutting-edge technologies to isolate and study antiviral antibodies. Through their pioneering work in computational immunology, they have achieved major advances in the rational design of vaccines and antibodies.
They have isolated human monoclonal antibodies for many pathogenic viruses, including Zika, HIV, dengue, influenza, Ebola, Marburg, chikungunya, West Nile, norovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rotavirus and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Their research has led to patents and licensures for several neutralizing antibodies and vaccines, some of which have progressed to clinical trials. In 2020, they isolated and delivered antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 to the global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for development into Evusheld, an injectable, long-acting antibody combination to prevent COVID-19.
“My team and I are so honored to receive this award, since we have focused a lot of our efforts on harnessing the power of the basic science of human immunology to make applied products that save people’s lives,” Crowe said.
“We’re thankful to the ASM organization for calling out our efforts in the area of biotechnology research,” he said.
Crowe has received many honors for his work including, in 2019, a Future Insight Prize from the science and technology company Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and, in 2020, a Golden Goose Award, inspired by former U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., to recognize the “significant societal impact” of federally funded research.
Major funding sources for the Crowe lab and Vanderbilt Vaccine Center include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, and the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund at Vanderbilt.