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Permar wins 2020 IDSA Oswald Avery Award

Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Sallie Permar, MD, PhD

Sallie R. Permar, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics, immunology, molecular genetics and microbiology, and pathology; associate dean of physician-scientist development; and founding director of the Children’s Health and Discovery Institute, has received the 2020 Oswald Avery Award. The Oswald Avery Award for early achievement is granted in recognition of outstanding achievement in an area of infectious diseases by an individual member or fellow of IDSA who is 45 or younger.

Permar is a physician scientist focused on the prevention and treatment of neonatal viral infections. She leads a research laboratory investigating immune protection against vertical transmission of neonatal viral pathogens, namely HIV and cytomegalovirus (CMV), using human cohorts and nonhuman primate models. Dr. Permar has made important contributions to the development of vaccines for prevention of vertical virus transmission, defining both innate and adaptive immune responses that are associated with protection against infant virus infections.

Permar is leading the development of HIV vaccine strategies in preclinical maternal/infant nonhuman primate models and translation of this work for clinical vaccine trials in infants. She has also worked to understand the determinants of congenital and perinatal CMV transmission, developing the first nonhuman primate model of congenital CMV infection and designing human cohort studies that have been used to define the immune correlates of protection necessary to guide vaccine development.

Permar has a PhD in microbiology/immunology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and an MD from Harvard Medical School. She completed her clinical training in pediatric infectious diseases at Children's Hospital in Boston. She has received several prestigious early-stage investigator awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), and was inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2016 and Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) in 2018. She is an institutional and national leader in physician-scientist training, serving as the associate dean of physician-scientist development at Duke University Medical School and was selected by the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs (AMSPDC) as the next director of the national Pediatric Scientist Development Program in 2019.

Permar accepted the award during IDWeek 2020, which was held virtually October 21-25.

"I am honored to be among many talented and accomplished infectious disease researchers who have received this award, which includes three physician-scientists from Duke in just the last 4 years and the renowned Dr. Tony Fauci!" says Permar. "I am also honored to receive this award as a pediatrician, recognizing the importance of research in prevention and treatment of infectious diseases for the youngest members of our society."

Previous Oswald Avery Award recipients from the Duke School of Medicine include William Steinbach, MD (2017), Vance Fowler, MD (2008) and Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD (2003). 

About IDSA

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) represents physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases. IDSA’s purpose is to improve the health of individuals, communities, and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health, and prevention relating to infectious diseases.