Groundbreaking scientist changed treatment protocols for HIV/AIDS, leading to better control of infections
Satya Dandekar has been elected into the American Academy of Microbiology, an honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Fellows are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process.
Dandekar, a professor of microbiology and the chairperson of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, is among 65 fellows selected in 2022. Fellows are chosen based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology.
Dandekar’s pioneering research on HIV/AIDS revealed the direct and devastating impact of the virus on the gut very early in the infection. Within just a few days to weeks, the virus damages the gut epithelial lining and impairs the gastrointestinal mucosal lymphoid tissue. Both are critical for generating the body’s immune response for defending against infections. The findings supported changes in the treatment protocols for HIV, including starting anti-HIV therapy early in the infection to achieve better clinical outcomes.
With her current research, Dandekar hopes to move ever closer to finding a cure for AIDS. A recent study looked at the mechanism through which mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) enhance the body’s immune response to the virus, potentially providing a roadmap for developing multi-pronged HIV eradication strategies.
Dandekar has previously received a prestigious MERIT award from the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Dandekar has served as a member of the NIAID Advisory Council and on the subcommittees of the council. She has continued to serve as a reviewer for the NIH review panels and scientific journals and on the scientific advisory boards. She was awarded the School of Medicine Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring. She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Under Dandekar’s leadership as chair, the UC Davis Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology has become a leader in the field of mucosal infections and mucosal immunity. It ranks 20th nationally for NIH research funding among all the medical microbiology and immunology departments in the country.
The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences and is composed of 30,000 scientists and health practitioners. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.
ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of microbial sciences to diverse audiences.
For the full list of 2020 Academy Fellows, visit the ASM website.