The ACS infectious diseases The Young Investigator Award and the ACS Department of Biological Chemistry recognize outstanding young researchers in the field of infectious diseases who have been active within ten years of their last educational experience or at the assistant professorship level. The 2021 award winners are:

  • Eszter Boros: Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Stonybrook University
  • David Olagnier: Associate Professor, Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University
  • Sloan Siegrist: Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts

As award winners, they will each receive a plaque, an award of $ 1,000, and travel reimbursement of up to $ 500 for attending the ACS Fall National Meeting & Exposition in Atlanta in Fall 2021, where they will work in an ACS Biological Division Chemistry will present symposium in her honor.

Read on to find out more about our 2021 award winners!

Eszter Boros

What does it mean for you to win this award?

I am very humble and honored to have been selected for this award. Infectious disease research is a brand new effort in my laboratory, and it is wonderful to be recognized for our growing contributions in the field.

What advice would you give to someone entering the field?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you run into roadblocks. Asking other laboratories for help has resulted in exciting collaborations and excellent learning experiences for all parties involved, both senior investigators and trainees.

Where do you hope to see your career in 10 years?

In 10 years, I hope my lab can celebrate the translation of at least one of our connections in people.

David Olagnier

What does it mean for you to win this award?

It is safe to say that I am very happy, but it is difficult to put into words what it means to me to win this award. Most of all, it is an incredible honor to be recognized and recognized for the contributions I have made in the field of infectious diseases over the past decade. When I think of the young and promising researchers previously recognized for this award, I feel incredibly humiliated to stand by their side now. It’s really special to be recognized for the long hours and hard work I’ve put into improving my research and seeing where it is today. Winning this award also means more visibility and reach for my research. It is one thing for me to know how strong my research is; It is another matter for my scientific colleagues to feel that way too.

What advice would you give to someone entering the field?

I would say with certainty that being successful in science is not easy and that success is based on several factors, unfortunately not all of which depend on you. My three main pieces of advice would be: determination, commitment and optimism. Determination and commitment are the main characteristics of a young researcher. One should be determined and never give up. Even without an obligation, nothing can happen. Optimism is about maintaining a positive mindset. Very often experiments will fail and you will make mistakes, but you must learn from them and this will be a way for you to progress. Accepting and benefiting from criticism will also help you grow up as a startup scientist. Finally enjoy your successes! They are more limited than your mistakes, so enjoy them as much as possible.

Where do you hope to see your career in 10 years?

I like to challenge myself and move forward on a personal level. I am also very interested in discovery. That was what initially attracted me to research. Research always forces you to see things from a different angle. My current research focuses on the use of viruses, which have the ability to target and kill cancer cells. I’ve always been motivated to make discoveries that will ultimately have a direct impact on people with cancer. Because the antitumor activity of oncolytic viruses is complex and involves broad activation of the antitumor effector mechanisms, they can be considered superior to low molecular weight therapies that target a single mechanism. In 10 years I hope that my laboratory will be internationally recognized for our discoveries on this topic. Most of all, I hope that, based on our fundamental discoveries regarding the cell biology of difficult-to-treat cancer cells, we have genetically engineered novel recombinant viruses that are being tested in clinics as more precise cancer therapies in patients.

Sloan Siegrist

What does it mean for you to win this award?

It’s an unexpected honor after a difficult year. I am very grateful for the mentors, students, postdocs, research fellows, staff and colleagues who took a chance on me. Came for science, stayed for people!

What advice would you give to someone entering the field?

Sometimes it’s good to feel stupid. It means that you are stretching. My postdoc was a big leap because my chemistry background wasn’t very strong. I felt stupid for at least a year. So I borrowed notes from a student in the lab who was taking an introduction to organic chemistry. I audited a chemical biology course. I asked my new chemist friends a lot of naive questions. I’m gradually finding my niche. I still needed hand posture for any type of chemical synthesis, but I could give advice to the same hand holder on what properties his new probe should have to be useful to a biologist. I now have skills that include microbiology and chemical biology. If you regularly look for situations that are intellectually uncomfortable, you will come up with ideas that others don’t simply because you are ready to put yourself there.

Where do you hope to see your career in 10 years?

My bachelor thesis was in public health, my thesis was in microbiology, and my postdoctoral thesis was in chemistry. In my freelance career, I’ve worked at the intersection of two of these disciplines, using chemical tools to understand the basics of the envelope for mycobacterial cells. In the future, I would like to revisit my early interest in public health and apply our methods and knowledge of envelopes to more translation goals. For example, we have new programs in diagnostics and adjuvants and we are trying to commercialize a new assay. I am very excited about the idea of ​​working on fundamental and applied issues that are interrelated.



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