May 22, 2020

Lund named 2020 Dean’s Excellence Award winner in Research

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RS17723 Fran Lund 4 scrFrances Lund, Ph.D., Charles H. McCauley Professor and Chair for the Department of Microbiology, is the senior faculty winner of the 2020 Dean’s Excellence Award in Research. Lund holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Duke University. She came to UAB by way of the University of Rochester, where she served in several academic positions. Lund has served as chair of the Department of Microbiology since her arrival at UAB in 2012. She also holds senior scientist appointments in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, Center for AIDS Research, as well as the Comprehensive Diabetes, Comprehensive Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, Bone and Autoimmunity Center (CAMBAC).

Dr. Lund has been a leader in the field focusing on how innate and adaptive immune cells respond to infections, allergens, and autoantigens. Among her most impressive achievements is defining how B-cells are selected within germinal centers (Immunity 1998, J Exp Med 2010) and the identification and characterization of transcription factors and gene regulatory networks that are responsible for memory B cell and plasma cell differentiation (J Exp Med 2017, Immunity 2019). Dr. Lund’s findings have had major implications for understanding why some individuals fail to develop protective immunity after an infection, understanding fundamental mechanisms underlying development of asthma and autoimmune related disorders such as lupus, and defining why immunity wanes with age. Given these outstanding scientific contributions, Dr. Lund’s scientific opinion is highly sought after. Her contributions over the past quarter century have been foundational to what we know about how B cells develop, how they sense environmental cues within the host, and their multifaceted role in responding to an infection.

“Simply put, Dr. Lund’s research accomplishments are exceptional and central to our understanding of how adaptive immunity develops,” said Carlos Orihuela, Ph.D., vice chair in the Department of Microbiology. “Her findings on the molecular signals controlling B cell development and function provide much needed insight and potential targets for intervention in the context of cancer and autoimmune disease. Dr. Lund’s research program has brought considerable recognition to UAB, and she is more than deserving of this honor.”