Murtaugh Receives Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist Award

Dr. Michael Murtaugh, University of Minnesota, received the 2012 Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist Award at the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases meeting, December 3, in Chicago, IL. The award recognizes Dr. Murtaugh’s discoveries and accomplishments in advancing our knowledge of porcine immunology and understanding of immune responses to infection, especially to PRRSV. The competitive award is presented by the American Association of Immunologists and the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists. This is the highest honor that AAVI bestows on anyone and is given to one person annually.

Dr. Murtaugh’s lab became involved in molecular analysis and evolution of PRRSV and has made extensive basic and translational contributions to the understanding of porcine immune responses to PRRSV. He was the director of the PRRS Coordinated Agricultural Project, the first USDA program project, from 2004 to 2008 and has lectured extensively on PRRS immunology, vaccinology, and diagnostics throughout the world. Recently his lab has initiated a similar program to elucidate the immunological interaction of swine with porcine circoviruses, and has contributed to annotation of immune response genes in the porcine genome.

In addition to maintaining an active research program that provides a home to undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and visiting scientists, he provides community outreach with molecular biotechnology workshops for educators, professionals, and international scientists, directs the Comparative and Molecular Biosciences graduate program, and regularly reviews grants and manuscripts. His many contributions have been recognized through the CVM Pfizer Award for Research Excellence (four times) and the University of Minnesota Inventor Recognition Award in 2005, a University Innovations Award in 2011, and the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference Pijoan Lectureship in 2008.