Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
JULY 26, 1999

John D. Altman, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Emory University School of Medicine, has been selected as one of America's most promising biomedical researchers by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Dr. Altman was among 20 young scholars chosen from medical schools and research institutions across the country as 1999 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences. The honor includes an award of $200,000 to help support Dr. Altman's research over a four-year period.

Dr. Altman already has been nationally recognized for major contributions to immunology research. His development of a new assay, called the MHC tetramer assay, has led to dramatic improvements in the quality of analysis of T cell immune responses. Nobel laureate and immunologist Peter Doherty has called the assay "the new gold standard" for measuring specific immune responses to viruses. Through the study of immune memory and T cell response to disease, Dr. Altman is focusing on developing and evaluating effective vaccines, particularly for HIV.

This year more than 100 institutions submitted nominations for the Pew awards, which are intended to encourage scholarly innovation and which are granted to young investigators who demonstrate outstanding promise in the basic and clinical sciences.

"These young scientists are the lifeblood of the research community," said Rebecca W. Rimel, president of the Pew Charitable Trusts, a national philanthropy based in Philadelphia. "After 15 years of funding the Scholars Program, we continue to see great value in nurturing outstanding young scientists to become tomorrow's leading investigators at the forefront of their fields."

"Dr. Altman brings great distinction to himself and to Emory University with this exceptionally competitive award and with the outstanding quality of his research," said Robert Rich, M.D., executive associate dean for research and strategic initiatives at Emory University School of Medicine. "We are very fortunate to have him as a faculty member."