Philip Pellett wins Lifetime Achievement Award

In All, News by Kristin Loomis

4A1A97E5-A66E-42B0-B556-26BF3D745E72Philip Pellett, PhD, a Professor and Interim Chair of Immunology and Microbiology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, was awarded the HHV-6 Foundation’s Dharam Ablashi Lifetime Achievement Award at the 9th International Conference on HHV-6 & 7. This honor is awarded every other year to an investigator who has demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the field of HHV-6 research.

Dr. Pellett has written extensively about HHV-6 & 7, is co-author of the chapter on HHV-6 & 7 in Field’s Virology, and was the Center for Disease Control’s Chief of the Herpesvirus Section between 1986 and 2007. During his stay at the CDC, Dr. Pellett’s lab reported the first isolation of the HHV-6 Z29 strain from an African patient, which is still considered the prototype of HHV-6B. Dr. Pellett and his colleagues not only sequenced HHV-6 Z-29, they also generated many plasmids and identified important genes involved in latency and replication. 

“We appreciate and admire his consistent and selfless efforts over the years to make research reagents (such as antibodies, cell lines and plasmid clones) available to other investigators” said Dr. Dharam Ablashi, one of the co-discoverers of HHV-6, after whom the award is named.

“Dr. Pellett has also made a tremendous difference in the field through his effort to enhance public awareness about this under-appreciated virus,” noted Kristin Loomis, Executive Director of the HHV-6 Foundation. He organized the first satellite workshop on HHV-6 at the International Herpesvirus Workshop in Denmark in 1989, and organized the first International Conference on HHV-6 and HHV-7 in 1994, He also served as the Co-Chair of the 9th International Conference on HHV-6 & 7 in Boston earlier this month as well as a conference on Roseoloviruses at the NIH in June of 2014.

Dr. Pellett started his career by earning his PhD at the University of Chicago, in the laboratory of Bernard Roizman. While at the CDC, he served as an Adjunct Professor at Emory, leaving to become a Professor of Molecular Medicine for Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve as well as the Director of Herpesvirus Translational and Basic Research in 2007. Dr. Pellett has served on the editorial boards of numerous publications including Journal of Virology, Virology, Virus Research, and Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, served two terms as Chair of the Herpesvirales Study Group of the International Committee for Taxonomy of Viruses.

In association with Dr. Robert Gallo’s lab, Dr. Pellett used restriction enzyme analysis to show that the HHV-6A GS strain (originally known as HBLV) was either a distinct strain or separate virus. Later, as a member of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, he led the way toward formally establishing them as distinct viruses in 2013. He is the author of over 145 publications on herpesviruses. A frequent reviewer and member of NIH study sections, Dr. Pellett has won recognition as a “top reviewer” by several publications, and also won a Wayne State University Teaching Award in 2014.