Dr. Vincent R. Racaniello awarded the ASV Wolfgang and Patricia Joklik Distinguished Service Award
The American Society for Virology is pleased to award this year's Wolfgang and Patricia Joklik Distinguished Service Award, recognizing service to the field of virology, to Dr. Vincent R. Racaniello, a Columbia University professor known for both his virological research and science communication efforts. Dr. Racaniello was honored with the presentation of a medal at the beginning of the ASV 41st Annual Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, by ASV President Dr. Felicia Goodrum on July 16, 2022.
Dr. Racaniello, who is the Higgins Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, generated the first infectious clone of poliovirus in 1981, enabling the research community to carry out molecular genetic studies of this important pathogen. In groundbreaking research at Columbia University, his laboratory identified the cellular receptor for poliovirus and developed a mouse model for study of the virus. Dr. Racaniello’s research expanded to other picornaviruses including rhinoviruses (responsible for common colds) and the interaction of picornaviruses with the innate immune system.
Dr. Racaniello has complemented his outstanding fundamental research with extensive scientific communication efforts. He began writing Virology Blog (virology.ws) in 2004 to educate the public about viruses and viral disease. In 2008, he started a weekly podcast, This Week in Virology (TWiV), to communicate knowledge about viruses to nonscientists and scientists in virology and other fields. He expanded this with a network of podcasts in microbiology, parasitology, evolution, immunology, and neuroscience (microbe.tv), each with a set of cohosts with appropriate scientific expertise. The TWiV podcast has had over 920 episodes to date, with millions of downloads. With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Racaniello increased the frequency of TWiV podcasts to three per week, with a special weekly clinically focused podcast with Columbia University cohost Dr. Daniel Griffin. Dr. Racaniello has also established online virology courses through Coursera and YouTube, extensions of his popular university course in undergraduate virology. He is a coauthor of a popular textbook, Principles of Virology.
Dr. Racaniello has also served the virology community through grant reviewing, editorial service, as an advisor to the World Health Organization, and he is a past president of ASV. For his extraordinary accomplishments in research, scientific communication, and service in virology, Dr. Racaniello was honored by ASV as the second recipient of the Wolfgang and Patricia Joklik Distinguished Service Award. The award was established by ASV in 2021 with a generous donation from Patricia Joklik, in recognition of her late husband, Wolfgang “Bill” Joklik, a founder and the first president of ASV. ASV is a professional organization with more than 2700 members in 55 countries, founded in 1981. ASV’s mission is to support all virologists, to promote research on viruses, and to promote engagement and open communication of discoveries through its annual meeting and other activities.