2020 Sidney & Joan Pestka Graduate & Post Graduate Award Winners

2020 Pestka Post-Graduate Award Winner

Autumn York, PhD
Hanna H. Gray Postdoctoral Fellow
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Laboratory of Richard Flavell
Department of Immunobiology
Yale University
New Haven, United States

Dr. Autumn York is an HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow in Dr. Richard Flavell’s lab in the Department of Immunobiology at Yale University.  Her postdoctoral research investigates how the immune system interacts with the body’s metabolic pathways to control inflammation and maintain tissue homeostasis.

Autumn received her PhD from University of California, Los Angeles under the supervision of Steven Bensinger, VDM, PhD, where she was a pre-doctoral fellow of the California HIV/AIDS Research Program. During her graduate studies, Autumn delineated a metabolic-inflammatory circuit that linked perturbations in cholesterol biosynthesis with activation of innate immunity via STING/type I interferon signaling. Autumn completed her undergraduate studies with Dr. Dylan Taatjes at University of Colorado- Boulder, where she graduated magna cum laude from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Oral Presentation: Decoding the immunological lipidome



2020 Pestka Graduate Award Winner

Jack Major
PhD Student (4th and final year), Francis Crick Institute.
Present Immunoregulation laboratory (student at Imperial College London)
Primary PhD supervisor: Dr Andreas Wack.

Jack is currently a fourth and final year PhD student in the lab of Dr Andreas Wack at the Francis Crick Institute, London. His graduate research looks at how host antiviral immune responses can be harmful during respiratory viral infection. Specifically, Jack and his co-authors found that type I and III interferons interfere with lung repair during recovery from influenza virus infection, by blocking respiratory epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation. In his infection model, he found that interferon treatment late during the course of infection exacerbates lung damage, which may have implications for ongoing clinical trials testing the efficacy of interferons in treating patients with COVID-19.

Before moving to the Crick institute, Jack completed his undergraduate degree in Immunology at the University of Glasgow, in 2015. He then remained in Glasgow for a year, working as a research technician at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology, studying the biology of the apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

Oral Presentation: Type I and III interferons disrupt lung epithelial repair during recovery from viral infection

Bronze Sponsor of Cytokine 2021 Hybrid Meeting

 The Sidney & Joan Pestka Graduate and Post-Graduate Awards, generously sponsored by PBL Assay Science, are targeted to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who have begun to make an impact in interferon and cytokine research. The Awards are designed to fill the gap among the awards currently offered by the ICIS to more senior investigators. Candidates must be actively working in interferon/cytokine research but need not be ICIS members. This is an annual award, and a recipient may receive an award only once. However, an individual who receives the Graduate Award remains eligible for the Post-Graduate Award. In years where a suitable candidate is not identified, an award will not be bestowed.
Award: $3,500 cash award, $1,500 travel grant, a $2,500 PBL Assay Science product credit for each awardee, and a complementary one-year ICIS membership. These awards are sponsored by PBL Assay Science. The Awardees will be invited for an Oral presentation during the Meeting.

History of the Sidney & Joan Pestka Graduate and Post-Graduate Awards >>

Seymour and Vivian Milstein, Sid and Joan Pestka, Robert Pestka, in Budapest in 1994