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Alexander Fleming Award Winners

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2018 Winner: Richard J. Whitley, MD, FIDSA


Whitley.jpgRichard J. Whitley, MD, FIDSA, a pioneer in the development of antiviral therapies for infections in children and adults, is the recipient of IDSA’s 2018 Alexander Fleming Award for Lifetime Achievement. This award recognizes a career that reflects major contributions to the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge about infectious diseases.

Dr. Whitley’s work over more than 40 years has spanned from fundamental drug discovery through complex clinical trials that established the safety and efficacy of novel therapies for many previously untreatable viral infections. These include herpes simplex encephalitis, neonatal herpes, congenital cytomegalovirus, West Nile encephalitis, and influenza, among others. His efforts to define the pharmacokinetics of antiviral drugs for herpesvirus infections and their safety and efficacy in children, pregnant women, the immunocompromised, and older adults have enabled all patients to benefit from these therapies. Dr. Whitley was instrumental in the development of recommendations for the treatment cytomegalovirus with ganciclovir and its derivatives, and following the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak, guidelines for the emergency use of oseltamivir in infants. His ongoing laboratory research focused on genetically engineered herpes viruses as oncolytic agents also holds promise for patients with otherwise fatal brain tumors.

A sought-after authority on viruses, biodefense, and emerging infections, Dr. Whitley has served on major national and international committees, including the Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, among many others. The author of more than 400 publications, he is also responsible for the Collaborative Antiviral Study Group, based at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and funded by the National Institutes of Health. This group has led multicenter trials of antiviral therapies for medically important diseases since the 1970s.

Dr. Whitley is a Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics, co-director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, the Loeb Eminent Scholar Chair in Pediatrics, and professor of microbiology, medicine, and neurosurgery at UAB. After receiving his medical degree at George Washington University School of Medicine, he completed his pediatric internship, residency, and fellowship training at UAB before joining the faculty. An IDSA John F. Enders Lecturer in 2000, Dr. Whitley was president of IDSA from 2009 to 2010 and has been a strong supporter of the Society’s mission for many years. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, he has served as an associate editor of The Journal of Infectious Diseases since 2004 and is a member of several other journal editorial boards.

Dr. Whitley’s practice-changing work over four-plus decades has greatly improved how physicians diagnose and care for children and adults with once untreatable viral infections. The Society is proud to honor him with the 2018 Alexander Fleming Award for Lifetime Achievement.


Past Alexander Fleming Award Winners

2017 Barbara E. Murray, MD, FIDSA
2016 Carol J. Baker, MD, FIDSA, FSHEA, FPIDS
P. Frederick Sparling, MD, FIDSA
2015 Anne Gershon, MD, FPIDS, FIDSA
2014 Martin J. Blaser, MD, FIDSA
2013 King K. Holmes, MD, FIDSA
2012     Martin S. Hirsch, MD, FIDSA
2011 Barton F. Haynes, MD, FIDSA
2010 Herbert L. DuPont, MD, FIDSA
2009 Arnold S. Monto, MD, FIDSA 
2008       Robert C. Moellering, Jr., MD, FIDSA 
2007 Sherwood L. Gorbach, MD, FIDSA
2006 Merle A. Sande, MD, FIDSA
2005 John G. Bartlett, MD
2004 Stanley A. Plotkin, MD
2003 Bennett Lorber, MD
2002 Gerald T. Keusch, MD
2001 William A. Craig, MD
2000 Gerald L. Mandell, MD
1999 Anthony S. Fauci, MD
1998 Vincent Andriole, MD
1997 Andre J. Nahmias, MD
1996 Jack S. Remington, MD
1995 Jerome Klein, MD
1994 Paul Quie, MD
1993 Seymour Klebanoff, MD
1992 Sheldon Wolff, MD
1991 Theodore Woodward, MD, MACP
1990 George McCracken, Jr., MD
1989 Willy Burgdorfer, PhD, MD
1988 Samuel Katz, MD
1987 Sydney Finegold, MD
1986 Robert Austrian, MD
1985 Elisha Atkins, MD
1984 Morton Swartz, MD
1983 Wesley Spink, MD
1982 Edward Kass, MD, PhD, MS
1981 Jay Sanford, MD
1980 Thomas Weller, MD, MS
1979 Gordon Meikeljohn, MS
1978 Louis Weinstein, MD, PhD
1977 William Kirby, MD
1976 Saul Krugman, MD
1975 Harry Dowling, MD
1974 Lawrence Sherwood, MD
1973 Charles Rammelkamp, MD
1972 Paul Beeson, MD
1971 Colin MacLeod, MD
1970 K. F. Meyer, PhD, DVM
1969 Thomas Francis, MD
1968 John Dingle, MD
1967 Chester Keefer, MD
1966 Maxwell Finland, MD
1965 W. Barry Wood, MD
1964 Ellard Yow, MD



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