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James Kaper Receives Prestigious American Society for Microbiology D.C. White Mentoring Award

July 01, 2019

James B. Kaper, PhD

Dr. Kaper Recognized for His Distinguished Accomplishments in Interdisciplinary Research and Mentoring in Microbiology

James B. Kaper, PhD, the James and Carolyn Frenkil Distinguished Dean’s Professor Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), received the 2019 American Society of Microbiology (ASM) D.C. White Award for his accomplishments in interdisciplinary research and mentoring in microbiology.

Dr. Kaper is an internationally-recognized microbiologist with specific expertise in the molecular pathogenesis of diarrheal disease pathogens, specifically Vibrio cholerae and diarrheagenic Escherichia coli. He has constructed a number of live attenuated V. cholerae vaccine strains, which his long-time collaborator ­–Myron Levine, MD, MD, DTPH, the Simon and Bessie Grollman Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean For Global Health, Vaccinology and Infectious Diseases ­–tested in numerous volunteer and field trials for clinical safety and efficacy. One vaccine, Vaxchora, was approved for licensure by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2016.

Since joining the UMSOM faculty in 1981, Dr. Kaper has trained more than 60 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the area of enteric pathogenesis, many of whom now hold leadership positions in preeminent academic institutions such as Harvard, University of Texas Southwestern, University of Michigan and University of Virginia . In addition to his roles as scientist and department chair, Dr. Kaper is also an academic leader in the School of Medicine, serving as Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, where he oversees all of the School’s academic programs.

“This is well-deserved recognition for Dr. Kaper, who is an expert in the molecular pathogenesis of serious diseases impacting millions of people around the world. His role as Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Medicine is critical in training the next generation of researchers,” said UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, who is also the Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor.”

The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest single life science societies, composed of over 30,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences. This award honors D.C. White, who was known for his interdisciplinary scientific approach and for being a dedicated and inspiring mentor. Dr. Kaper received this award at the 2019 ASM Annual Meeting (Microbe) in San Francisco in June.

Dr. Kaper, who has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (HIH) since 1982, has served as the Principal Investigator of the NIH-funded “Immunity and Infection” training grant since 2007. Dr. Kaper comes from a long line of outstanding mentors including his PhD mentor Dr. Rita Colwell, former Director of the National Science Foundation, and his postdoctoral mentor, Dr. Stanley Falkow, winner of a Lasker Special Achievement Award for  research and mentoring contributions.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically-based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and more than $530 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total workforce of nearly 7,000 individuals. The combined School and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit


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