Noted virologist Sean Whelan, PhD, has been named head of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and the Marvin A. Brennecke Distinguished Professor of Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He studies how deadly viruses such as Ebola and rabies enter cells and multiply, a key step to finding targets for new antiviral drugs. Whelan will take the reins Jan. 1.
Whelan comes from Harvard Medical School, where he is a professor of microbiology and of immunobiology, and head of the virology program. His appointment was announced by David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine, and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor.
“I am thrilled to welcome Sean Whelan as the new head of the Department of Molecular Microbiology,” Perlmutter said. “Sean is a superb scientist and a global leader in advancing our understanding of emerging viral infections. His scientific focus has enormous potential for developing new therapies and vaccines and, because viruses cause disease by mimicking our own biology, his work has led, and will continue to lead, to discoveries about the fundamental mechanisms by which our cells function. His scientific leadership will make it possible for our Department of Molecular Microbiology and campuswide microbial research community to continue its long-held and deep legacy at the forefront of the field.”