(From the December 2015 issue of Research Now)
Mark Peeples, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Vaccines and Immunity at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, has been elected a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
The AAAS Council elected 347 Fellows for 2015, in recognition of their contributions to innovation, education, and scientific leadership. The tradition of electing AAAS Fellows began in 1874 to recognize members for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.
Dr. Peeples was specifically honored for “contributions to virology, in particular to understanding entry and replication of respiratory syncytial virus,” according to the AAAS.
Dr. Peeples is one of three Nationwide Children’s researchers who recently received a $6.75 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States, making it also the most frequent reason for hospitalization in that age group. Worldwide, RSV is a major cause of infant mortality.
“Our goal is to develop a live, attenuated RSV vaccine that can be given as nose drops to infants, and to improve the ways we evaluate vaccine safety and effectiveness,” says Dr. Peeples, who is also a professor of Pediatrics, Biological Chemistry and Pharmacology at The Ohio State University. “We are attacking the problem on multiple fronts, using new approaches to attenuate, or weaken, the virus, while increasing its ability to stimulate a protective immune response.”
In addition to Dr. Peeples, Brian Kaspar, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Gene Therapy at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s and an associate professor of Pediatrics and Neurosciences at The Ohio State University, and Veronica Vieland, PhD, director of the Battelle Center for Mathematical Medicine at The Research Institute and vice president for Computational Research at Nationwide Children’s as well as a professor of Pediatrics and Statistics at The Ohio State University, were named AAAS Fellows in 2013. Christopher Walker, PhD, director of the Center for Vaccines and Immunity at Nationwide Children’s and a professor of Pediatrics at Ohio State, was named a Fellow in 2006.
“Election to fellowship in the AAAS is among the highest honors bestowed to American scientists and is reflective of a distinguished track record of advancing science in the areas of research, education, service and communication,” says John A. Barnard, MD, president of The Research Institute and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University. “At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, we are privileged and proud to work with some of our nation’s leading biomedical research scientists, as they advance our mission of discovery to improve the lives of children and families.”