Stony Brook Professor Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology
Dr. James B. Bliska recognized for his work and leadership in infectious disease research
According to the ASM, Academy Fellows are eminent leaders in the field of microbiology and are relied upon for authoritative advice and information on critical issues in microbiology. Fellows are elected through a highly selective peer review process based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. Dr. Bliska and other newly elected fellows nationwide will be recognized at the annual ASM General Meeting in San Francisco on June 19, 2012.
Dr. Bliska, who joined the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology in 1993, investigates molecular mechanisms that underlie the pathogenesis of bacteria, particularly in regard to host-microbe cell interactions in the genus Yersinia. Discoveries in his laboratory have led to advances in the fields of bacterial pathogenesis and cell biology.
For example, Dr. Bliska pioneered work on a specialized bacterial toxin secretion mechanism that is now referred to in microbiology as type III secretion, a significant finding to help broaden the research field known as cellular microbiology. He invented an approach used to identify host cell targets of a bacterial toxin, a unique technological advancement widely adopted by other researchers. Dr. Bliska also discovered that host cells have innate immune mechanisms that can detect bacterial toxin secretion, a finding of general importance in the field of immunology.
During his tenure at Stony Brook, Dr. Bliska has received numerous National Institute of Health (NIH) research grants. In 2003, he was also named director of a NIH grant that supports infectious disease research training for graduate students at Stony Brook. Dr. Bliska’s other accomplishments while at Stony Brook include a Pew Scholar Award in 1994, and an appointment as editor of the journal Infection and Immunity in 2003.
Dr. Bliska received a B.S. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983. He carried out research in molecular genetics with Dr. Oliver Smithies as an undergraduate. In 1988, he earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of California-Berkeley, under the mentorship of Dr. Nicholas Cozzarelli. His postdoctoral training in bacterial pathogenesis was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Stanley Falkow from 1988 to 1993 at Stanford University.