Dr. Patrick Brennan, a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, was the recipient of the 2008 Gardner Middlebrook Award for "Significant Contributions in Mycobacteriology" at the American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting.
The Gardner Middlebrook Award, sponsored by Becton, Dickinson and Company, honors scientists who have made significant lifetime contributions in the study, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases caused by mycobacteria, including leprosy and tuberculosis. Only a small cadre of microbiologists has been chosen by their peers to receive this international award.
Dr. Brennan has worked for more than three decades in the field of mycobateriology. In the case of Mycobacterium leprae, his research work has involved developing new diagnostic tools for earlier diagnosis of leprosy; molecular epidemiology; drug resistance; definition of genome, proteome, and cell wall of M. leprae; provision of materials and expertise; and a global leadership and advocacy role in leprosy research.
In 1978, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded Dr. Brennan two contracts for the purpose of fractionating M. leprae-infected armadillo organs to derive sizable quantities of M. leprae for use by the leprosy research community. This contract has continued through five successive re-competitions. In the case of tuberculosis, his work includes investigations of cell wall biogenesis in the context of new drug discovery; and a leadership role in national/international health and research organizations.
“Dr. Brennan’s achievements in the field of mycobacteriology have received international acclaim, and this award is a reflection of his reputation worldwide as a leading researcher in mycobacteriology,” said Dr. Lance Perryman, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “His dedication to his work is resulting in positive changes in countries where leprosy is endemic, and giving hope to those afflicted with this disabling disease, as well as giving tools to those who are working to eliminate leprosy.”