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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientist honored for contributions to immunology

Memphis, Tennessee, February 4, 2015


Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Ph.D., of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is recognized by the American Association of Immunologists for outstanding research contributions to the field of immunology.

The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) has named Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Ph.D., of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, recipient of the 2015 AAI-BD Biosciences Investigator Award. The award recognizes an early career scientist for outstanding research contributions to the field of immunology.

Kanneganti is internationally known for research that has advanced understanding of the innate immune system. This arm of the disease-fighting immune system serves as the first responder to infections but has also been implicated in inflammatory, autoimmune and other disorders, including cancer.

In his nomination letter, Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty, Ph.D., a St. Jude Immunology Department member, called Kanneganti an extraordinary research investigator. He praised her for having a broad view of biology and an understanding of the significance of scientific research.

Kanneganti joined St. Jude in 2007 and is now a member of the Department of Immunology. Her work has helped clarify mechanisms that underlie inflammatory and infectious diseases.

She will receive the award and deliver a lecture May 9 at the association’s 102nd annual meeting in New Orleans. The association includes more than 7,600 scientists, making it the nation’s largest professional organization of immunologists.

“Dr. Kanneganti’s research stands with the very best work in the field from not only early stage investigators, but investigators at every level,” said Douglas Green, Ph.D., St. Jude Immunology Department chair. “She is an exceptional scientist, a generous and invaluable colleague, and a role model for trainees and junior faculty charting their own careers as independent investigators. This award is one of the most prestigious given by the AAI, and they could have chosen no one better than Thirumala.”

Kanneganti’s research focuses on understanding several aspects of the innate immunity, including how the innate immune system recognizes and responds to infections. She also studies how genetic mutations in that system affect the risk for inflammatory and autoimmune disease.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. To learn more, visit or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.