Volume 12 Number 7

Member highlight – Curt Horvath

Curt M. Horvath, Ph. D. ; Professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA X:@JakStatMan

Interview with ICIS President-Elect, Curt Horvath

  • Please tell us your name, degree, where you currently work, position
    Curt M. Horvath, Ph. D.; Professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA   X:@JakStatMan
  • Where did you do your training? 
    Ph.D. with Bob Lamb at Northwestern, brief postdoc at Cornell Med School (now Weill) with Moses Chao, then a longer postdoc at Rockefeller University with Jim Darnell.  I was assistant and associate professor at Mt. Sinai Med School (now Icahn), and recruited to Northwestern in 2004. 
  • In 2-4 sentences, what is your research program about?
    My Ph.D. was in molecular virology and postdoc on IFN-activated JAK-STAT pathways.  This combination set me and my group members on the path of unraveling the mechanisms of STAT-mediated transcription factor activity in antiviral and IFN-stimulated gene regulation, RNA sensing and RLR-MAVS signaling, virus-host interactions and virus immune evasion, and innate antiviral immunity.  
  • Tell us your thoughts about ICIS: how has being involved in this Society help your career?
    After training in the epicenter of JAK-STAT signaling, I wanted to find colleagues with shared interests.  I joined the ISICR- a precursor of ICIS-  and found an international community of scientists interested in cytokines and their roles in health and disease.  This group got even bigger and better after the ISICR merged with the ICS and became ICIS. 
  • Are there any particular friends you’ve made or collaborations that came out of ICIS that you’d like to share?
    I look forward to seeing old friends at the annual meetings, some from postdoc days (looking at you, Uwe Vinkemeier) and many others developed over the years.  The meetings spark spontaneous interactions,  conversations that lead to new friendships, and exciting collaborations. 
  • What Cytokines meeting(s) have been your favorites? Tell us about any special memories or anecdotes.
    All the ICIS meetings have been excellent and memorable.  The scientific presentations, career development, poster sessions, etc. are all first rate.  The cytokine meeting international venues are always exceptional and I try to make the most of it especially if water is nearby:  Diving the Great Barrier (Cairns) or Hawaiian reefs (with Sarah Gaffen*), swimming in Lac Leman followed by fondue with Markus Heim (Geneva), snorkeling with Sergei Kotenko (Cairns, Hawaii), dining at a Heuriger with the Vienna JAK-STAT mafia, playing music with Scott Durum, John O’Shea, Luke O’Neill and Metabollix (Chicago, Vienna, Boston, Athens).  
  • What do you like to do when not in the lab?
    As a source of respite or rejuvenation, I like to spend time with family, cooking and eating, enjoying outdoors activities, open water swimming, and playing the blues. 
  • What is the best life/career advice you’ve ever received?
    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right. 
  • What book or TV show are you reading/watching right now that you recommend?
    Holly by Stephen King;  The Deadly Rise of Anti-Science by Peter J Hotez.
  • What is your favorite cytokine?
    As @JakStatMan, most cytokines activate me, but I am partial to the amazing Type I and Type III IFNs
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