Dr. Sallie Permar, the newly appointed chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, received the 2020 Oswald Avery Award for Early Achievement from the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The annual award recognizes a member 45 years of age or younger for their outstanding achievement and commitment to the field of infectious diseases. Dr. Permar was honored for her work investigating and developing strategies for preventing and treating infectious diseases in newborns, including SARS-CoV-2, HIV, Zika and cytomegalovirus (CMV)—the most common congenital infection among infants. She has developed vaccines to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, discovered a protein in breast milk that neutralizes HIV, and developed a nonhuman primate model for testing congenital CMV vaccine strategies.
“Winning this award is very meaningful as it acknowledges the importance of researching pediatric infectious diseases,” Dr. Permar said. “Vaccines designed for adults don’t necessarily work well in children and vice versa. It’s essential to study the immune system in pregnant women and small children and develop effective therapies for preventing infectious diseases as early as possible."
The Oswald Avery Award is one of several young investigator honors Dr. Permar has received: She was awarded the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Pediatric Research and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2014. Other accolades celebrating her scientific contributions include the Gale and Ira Drukier Prize in Children’s Health Research from Weill Cornell Medicine, which she accepted in October.
Dr. Permar accepted the award during IDWeek 2020, a joint annual meeting focusing on infectious disease, which was held virtually Oct. 21–25. “Joining the list of previous awardees, which includes Dr. Tony Fauci and others who are playing important roles addressing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and a number of my mentors, is very humbling,” Dr. Permar said.