Michael Gale Jr. named 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

Friday, October 26, 2018
Michael Gale Jr. Photo by Rick Dahms for Columns Magazine.

Michael Gale Jr. (PhD, Pathobiology, '94) will receive the UW School of Public Health's 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award -- the School’s highest honor, which recognizes distinguished service and achievement in public health.

Dr. Gale’s innovative research has had a profound impact on global health, and he is highly sought after as a mentor. He is a professor in the UW Department of Immunology, founder and director of the UW Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease, and co-director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Disease. In addition, he holds adjunct appointments in microbiology and global health, and is a member of the Fred Hutch/UW Cancer Consortium.

Dr. Gale is an international leader in the field of RNA viruses and innate immunity, and his research has influenced the new and growing field of host-directed innate immune therapeutics. He is credited (while an assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas) with defining retinoic acid inducible gene I (RIG-I) and the RIG-I-like receptor pathway as the major pathogen recognition receptors that mediate the body's recognition of RNA viruses to initiate the immune response against infection. This work has led to huge advances in understanding innate immune regulation and infection by hepatitis C virus, and informing the development of drugs that can now cure most hepatitis C-infected patients. He is currently working on ways to stop emerging viruses such as Zika virus, and on defining processes of vaccine protection against HIV.

Dr. Gale has trained numerous doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows and is known for the individualized attention he devotes to his mentees. He serves on numerous international and national panels, is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research, and serves as an expert consultant to the U.S. Congress on pandemic preparedness. He is a proud alumnus of the UW School of Public Health, and we could not be more proud of him!

“I am very honored to be nominated and chosen for this award,” Dr. Gale said. “It is a tribute to my mentor, faculty, and colleagues who provided the outstanding interactions and training that I received during my time as a doctoral student in the UW School of Public Health.”

Dr. Gale will give his Distinguished Alumni Award Lecture, “Controlling Viral Infection: From Hepatitis C to Zika,” at 7:30 pm Feb. 5, in UW’s Kane Hall, Room 220.