Dr. Bhupesh Prusty, PhD, Group Leader in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Würzburg in Germany was recently awarded the Koichi Yamanishi Young Investigator Award for Excellence in Basic Science. This is a new award given by the HHV-6 Foundation every other year, to a young investigator who has demonstrated groundbreaking progress in basic research relating to the human herpesviruses. It is named after Professor Koichi Yamanishi, who is the Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation in Japan and was the first to determine HHV-6 to be the cause of roseola or exanthema subitum in infants in 1988.
“His ingenious creativity, clear and dedicated methodology, and critical evaluation of his results characterizes Bhupesh as an outstanding and promising young investigator” commented Professor Gerhard Krueger, MD, PhD former Dean of the University of Cologne in Germany and a professor of pathology at University of Texas.
Dr. Prusty is currently working in the laboratory of Professor Thomas Rudel and studies important interactions between persistent intracellular bacterial and viral infections that sometimes result in the potentiation of both pathogens. He has published several important papers on the role of chlamydia pneumonia in activating latent HHV-6 including inherited chromosomally integrated HHV-6. He also described a mechanism by which HHV-6 co-infection can cause chlamydial persistence. Recent work by Prusty on the mechanism of reactivation of ciHHV-6 published in PLoS Genetics has been highly cited as a seminal contribution to understanding this condition that affects approximately 1% of the population.
“Bhupesh has challenged preconceived notions about the co-infections and viral reactivation through a string of successful publications and is by far one of the most brilliant young researchers I have encountered over my long career in the field of life science research,” said Dr. Dharam Ablashi, Scientific Director of the HHV-6 Foundation and co-discoverer of HHV-6. “Prior to Prusty’s work, there were no known natural cause for HHV-6 reactivation to my knowledge,” he added.
Prusty worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Professor Harald zur Hausen at the German Cancer Research Center studying human endogenous retroviruses before joining Professor Rudel’s group. His diverse training in both bacterial as well as viral and retroviral infections contributed to his success in winning an extremely competitive grant to pursue his work on HHV-6 reactivation and his hypothesis on “transposon-like” behavior of the reactivated virus and its implications in human diseases, from the Volkswagen Stiftung program. Prusty is also a faculty member at the Graduate School of Life Sciences at University of Würzburg.
Caption: Dr. Bhupesh Prusty receiving the HHV-6 Foundation Young Investigator Award for Excellence in Basic Science, from Professor Koichi Yamanishi of Japan