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Celebrating Excellence in Scientific Achievement



WEST LAFAYETTE, IN – The Department of Biological Sciences proudly acknowledges the outstanding contributions of two eminent faculty members, Professor Richard J. Kuhn and Professor Zhao-Qing Luo, who have been honored with the prestigious Morrill Award and the Herbert Newby McCoy Award, respectively, showcasing Purdue University's commitment to excellence in scientific research.


Kuhn's Triumph with the Morrill Award:

In a momentous recognition of remarkable achievements in virology and infectious disease research, Professor Richard J. Kuhn, the Trent and Judith Anderson Distinguished Professor in Science and Krenicki Family Director of the Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology, and Infectious Disease, has been named Purdue's Morrill Award winner for 2023.

The Morrill Award, Purdue's highest faculty honor, celebrates Kuhn's exemplary contributions to understanding the replication, assembly, and structure of RNA viruses, including Zika, dengue, hepatitis C, and SARS-CoV-2. Provost Patrick Wolfe commends Kuhn's role as a "tremendous intellectual asset to Purdue" and his dedication to university citizenship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reflecting on the significance of the award, Kuhn expressed gratitude, stating, "I’m honored to be recognized for my efforts to advance the mission of Purdue and to contribute to global health."


Luo's Distinction with the McCoy Award:

Simultaneously, we celebrate the groundbreaking work of Professor Zhao-Qing Luo, a globally recognized microbiologist in the Department of Biological Sciences, who receives the 2022 Herbert Newby McCoy Award. This prestigious accolade acknowledges Luo's critical research combatting infectious diseases, focusing on Legionella, the bacterium causing Legionnaires disease.

Luo's innovative work involves unraveling the mechanisms by which microbial pathogens survive within host cells and understanding the signaling pathways in immune cells responding to bacterial infections. His contributions have garnered international acclaim, with Zhijian Chen from the University of Texas applauding Luo's "innovative, rigorous, and transformative" discoveries, particularly in ubiquitin biology and host-pathogen interactions.

Reflecting on his achievements, Luo stated, "A better understanding of the mechanism of virulence factors will lay the foundation for the development of novel anti-infection strategies."


A Celebration of Excellence:

These accolades reflect Purdue's commitment to fostering groundbreaking research and academic excellence. Both professors, with diverse yet interconnected focuses, exemplify the university's dedication to advancing knowledge, contributing to global health, and embodying the spirit of a leading research land-grant institution.

The Morrill Award and the McCoy Award highlight the impact of Purdue faculty on the scientific community, reinforcing the university's position as a hub for innovation and transformative research. As Purdue continues to thrive in the pursuit of knowledge, these awards underscore the invaluable contributions of its faculty members to the fields of virology, microbiology, and infectious disease research.


Written by Alisha ReferdaCommunications Specialist

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