Dittmer, Garcia selected as American Academy of Microbiology Fellows

The American Society for Microbiology has elected a group of 78 microbiologists to the Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. UNC Lineberger researchers Dirk Dittmer, PhD, and J. Victor Garcia, PhD were among those chosen as fellows.

Dittmer, Garcia selected as American Academy of Microbiology Fellows click to enlarge Dirk Dittmer, PhD (L) and J. Victor Garcia, PhD (R)

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center members Dirk Dittmer, PhD and J. Victor Garcia, PhD have been chosen as American Academy of Microbiology Fellows, along with 76 other experts in the areas of microbiology, including basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry, and government service. 

The American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) is the honorific leadership organization the American Society for Microbiology, the oldest and largest life science organization in the world. It's mission is to recognize scientific excellence, as well as foster knowledge and understanding in the microbiological sciences. 

Fellows of the Academy are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. There are over 2,400 Fellows representing all subspecialties of microbiology, including basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry, and government service. 

“I am very excited to have been selected as an AAM fellow,” said Dirk Dittmer, PhD.

“Recognition by one’s peers is perhaps among the most important drivers of scientific progress and the community of scientists. I am proud that my peers find my contributions useful. Understanding basic mechanisms of microbiology – in my case virology – is as important today as it always was, perhaps even more so as new viruses seem to be emerging more and more frequently.”

Dittmer’s research is focused on understanding cancers known to be associated with viral infections – especially Kaposi’s sarcoma and viral lymphoma – and searching for new cancer-associated viruses.  He is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and co-director of the Lineberger Global Oncology Program.

J. Victor Garcia, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UNC’s School of Medicine was also included in the list of 2016 fellows.

“It is an honor to receive this important distinction. I consider this to be a clear recognition that diversity provides the United States with a biomedical research workforce that reflects the richness of its population,” Garcia says. “This recognition represents an obligation to continue to serve as a mentor and example to others trying to make a contribution to this nation’s outstanding scientific enterprise.”

Garcia’s research interests include retrovirology, HIV/AIDS, stem cell biology and human gene therapy.

“Victor’s selection into the fellowship is a nod to his innovative research models to eradicate HIV,” says Myron Cohen, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UNC.

Fellows of the Academy are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. There are over 2,400 Fellows representing all subspecialties of microbiology, including basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry, and government service. 

In addition to Dittmer and Garcia, Melissa Miller, PhD, director of UNC’s Molecular Microbiology Laborator was also selected as a 2016 AAM Fellow.

Dittmer, Miller and Garcia will be recognized at the Academy Fellows Reception at the ASM Microbe meeting in Boston on June 17.