Jul 27, 2022
Dr. John Mekalanos (Harvard Medical School) has devoted his
career to the study of bacterial pathogens, with a special emphasis
to understanding Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that
causes the deadly disease cholera. And what an amazingly
productive research path he has followed, from the discovery and
characterization of the regulon that controls V. cholerae
virulence, to the identification of the pilus that allows the
bacteria to colonize the intestine, to the discovery of the
bacteriophage that encodes the cholera toxin. His
(relatively) recent discovery of the Type VI Secretion System and
characterization of its role in inter-bacterial competition and
host modulation has had broad impact on all aspects of
Dr. Mekalanos received the 2022 ASM Lifetime Achievement Award for all of his tremendous contributions to our understanding of bacterial-host interactions.
Dr. Mekalanos talks about the background of some of the seminal discoveries from his laboratory, how important his laboratory personnel (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows) have been to his success, his thoughts on the eradication of cholera through vaccination, and how his love of poker has contributed to his success as a scientist.