Dr. John Mekalanos is the Adele H. Lehman Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He has served as chair of the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Department since 1996, and he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology. Dr. Mekalanos has been at the forefront of cholera research, from his graduate studies on the purification and characterization of cholera toxin to the more recent identification of a filamentous bacteriophage that carries the gene for the toxin and the co-regulated production of pili required for intestinal colonization. Live attenuated vaccines effective against cholera are one of the important practical benefits of this research.
Dr. Mekalanos has received amongst other honors the Eli Lilly Award and American Association for the Advancement of Science Newcomb Cleveland Prize for the Outstanding Paper of 1993 Published in Science (259:686-688, 1993). He has been a member of the FDA Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologics, and has consulted for numerous other governmental and private agencies, including NIH, DOD, the World Health Organization, the International Vaccine Institute, the National Academy of Sciences, Massachusetts Public Health Biological Laboratories, and the US-Japan Cooperative Medical Science Program. Dr. Mekalanos has been an active consultant in the pharmaceutical industry for companies including SmithKline, Merck and Vicuron, and he was a co-founder of three biotechnology firms (Virus Research Institute, PharmAthene and most recently, Matrivax).