UMass Medical School scientists Christopher M. Sassetti, PhD, professor of microbiology & physiological systems, and Erik J. Sontheimer, PhD, professor of molecular medicine, have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology for advancing the field of microbiology through their original contributions and scientific achievement.
Christopher M. Sassetti, PhD
Erik J. Sontheimer, PhD
Elected in a highly selective peer-reviewed process, Drs. Sassetti and Sontheimer join 76 others inducted in 2016 as fellows of the academy, which is the honorific leadership group of the American Society for Microbiology, the world’s oldest and largest life sciences organization. In total, there are more than 2,400 fellows worldwide, including 15 from UMMS.
Sassetti’s research focuses on the physiology of tuberculosis, one of the most devastating diseases in the world. Sassetti is working to understand how the host responds to infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the mechanisms used by the pathogen to overcome these insults. Understanding the fundamental biology that determines protection from disease will lead to more rational approaches to diagnostics, antimicrobials and vaccines.
The goal of the Sontheimer lab is to uncover and understand the roles of RNA molecules during gene expression. Sontheimer’s research focuses on the fundamental biological roles of RNA molecules, and on the uses of RNAs in biomedical research and disease treatment. His current emphasis is on mechanisms of genetic interference pathways specified by CRISPR loci in pathogenic bacteria and on the use of CRISPR systems in genome editing.
Sassetti and Sontheimer join these other UMMS faculty as AAM fellows: