Michael B. A. Oldstone, M.D.
Scripps Research Institute

2003 recipient of the ISNV Pioneer in NeuroVirology Award

The ISNV periodically recognizes individual achievement in the field of neurovirology through its Pioneer in NeuroVirology Award. This year, the ISNV is honoring Dr. Michael B.A. Oldstone for his accomplishments and contributions to the field of neurovirology, for he truly is a pioneer. This year's Pioneer in NeuroVirology Award was presented at the 5th International Symposium on NeuroVirology.

Dr. Oldstone has made significant advancements that have led to the understanding of viral persistence and immunity in the nervous system. He was the first to surmise that antibody-induced antigen modulation was a viable mechanism for viruses to "hide" from the immune response, leading to viral persistence for measles virus. Anti-viral antibodies added to the outside of an infected cell could alter viral protein synthesis inside, and this provided a basic hypothesis for measles virus persistence in subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. Other investigators have confirmed these findings using different models of virus persistence, including models built around Sindbus virus. Dr. Oldstone also led the way in understanding how viruses that persist in the central nervous system, such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, could alter "luxury" functions, such as the production of growth hormones by the host. His work has helped define what viral gene products are involved in this modulation. In addition, Dr. Oldstone has championed the concept of molecular mimicry, since its inception in his laboratory, as a mechanism for virus-induced autoimmune disease. Thousands of articles have since been published on this topic. His work on the role of T cells in immunopathology and viral clearance are well-documented in textbooks of medicine and virology. He has authored and/or edited over a dozen books on this subject.

Dr. Oldstone is most proud of the individuals who he has trained over his august career. Over 70 postdoctoral fellows have passed through his laboratory, having had the opportunity to glean an understanding of viral pathogenesis under his supervision. In addition, over 20 guest investigators have taken sabbatical sojourns in his laboratory in La Jolla. These fellows are now directors of institutes as well as chairs and professors at many leading institutions around the world. He has successfully impacted many lives.

Dr. Oldstone received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine with intern and residency training at University Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. He was a postdoctoral fellow of Dr. Frank Dixon at what was then the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla. He is Professor/Member in the Departments of Neuropharmacology and Immunology at The Scripps Research Institute and Head of the Division of Virology. In the past, he has been honored for his exceptional work in viral pathogenesis with the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine, Rouse-Whipple Award for Research Excellence,Abraham Flexner Award, The Cotzias Award for Research Excellence in Nervous System Disease, and many others. He was also elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences as well as the Association of American Physicians.

The ISNV is proud to honor Dr. Oldstone as a Pioneer in NeuroVirology, and congratulates him on a lifetime of achievement and ground-breaking discovery.

Return to the Pioneer in NeuroVirology Award page.