The Thomas Quinn, M.D. Distinguished Alumnus of 2012 Symposium

(Above) May 18, 2012 - Thomas Quinn, M.D., speaking to a gathering of faculty and students in the Department of Biological Sciences. (Photo, W. Wall, 2012)

For graduation this year, Notre Dame's Department of Biological Sciences was delighted to welcome back one of Professor George Craig's most accomplished protégés; forty years after his graduation, Dr. Thomas Quinn was honored as the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus and Graduate School Commencement Speaker.

Dr. Quinn is currently serving as a professor with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is the founding director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health. In addition to his Notre Dame honors, Dr. Quinn is an Elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He is also an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Dr. Quinn holds two degrees from the university (B.S. Notre Dame, 1969 and M.S. Notre Dame, 1970) as well as a robust multi-generational Notre Dame legacy (i.e., father, uncle, cousin, brother-in-law, and son).  

In celebration of Dr. Quinn's recognition this year, the Department of Biological Sciences' Committee for Honors and Awards invited faculty and students to participate in a special seminar, the Thomas Quinn Distinguished Alumnus Symposium. One hundred faculty and students attended the symposium hosted by the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases and the Eck Institute for Global Health at McKenna Hall.

The morning session was opened by CRND's Professor Kasturi Haldar, Chair of the Honors and Awards Committee. Professor Haldar welcomed Dr. Quinn and introduced the program. Professor Gary Lamberti, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences expressed the department's great pleasure in celebrating its distinguished alumnus and spoke about the significance of Dr. Quinn's leadership in global health. Professor David Severson, Director of the Eck Institute, introduced Dr. Quinn and spoke about his seminal contributions over three decades in the area of HIV/AIDs research and the development of programs serving people in need around the globe.

In an inspiring address to the assembly, Dr. Quinn reflected on his early years at Notre Dame and the "serendipitous" path his career has taken since his imagination was first captured by Dr. Craig, ND's renown pioneer of parasitology. After graduation from ND, Dr. Quinn went on to study medicine at Northwestern University, work in STD research at the NIH and eventually found his current center at Johns Hopkins. Over the course of his career, Dr. Quinn has worked with many of the leading infectious disease investigators in the world and dedicated himself to humanitarian service in science. To view Dr. Quinn's lively talk, including his humorous stories about the scientists he either roomed with or provided specimens to en route to their Nobel prizes, please link to our video channel.

The afternoon portion of the symposium showcased an outstanding series of presentations by junior faculty in biological sciences. The brief sessions shared with Dr. Quinn represent the breadth of current investigations underway in ND biology labs: Dr. Miguel Morales -“Dissection of the Leishmania stress response”; Dr. Zain Syed -“Exploiting the sense of smell for managing disease vectors” ; Dr. Souvik Bhattacharjee - “Endoplasmic Reticulum PI(3)P lipid binding targets malaria proteins to the host cell”; Dr. Patricia Champion - "The Molecular Mechanisms of Mycobacterial Protein Secretion"; Dr. Shaun Lee - “Bacteriocins: How bacteria compete, communicate, and kill”; Dr. Rebecca Wingert - “Using the zebrafish to study kidney development and regeneration”; and Dr. Zach Schafer - “Surviving the Metastatic Journey; The Evasion of Extracellular Matrix Detachment-Induced Cell Death by Cancer Cells.”




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