Einstein Researchers, Drs. Arturo Casadevall and Vinayaka Prasad, Receive MERIT Awards from National Institutes of Health

September 20, 2007 - (BRONX, NY) - Arturo Casadevall, M.D., Ph.D. and Vinayaka Prasad,Ph.D., both professors of microbiology and immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have each received a MERIT award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

The MERIT award is a five-year award given to an outstanding investigator and is based on superior competence and productivity. Dr. Casadevall''''s award will aid his further studies of the interaction of antibodies with a polysaccharide capsule of Cryptococcus neoformans - in particular the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies under preliminary clinical trials to counter cryptococcal infections.Dr. Prasad''''s award will support his research studying the role of viral and cellular proteins in early events of HIV-1 replication.

Dr. Casadevall, who is the Leo and Julia Forchheimer Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, as well as chair of that department, joined the Einstein faculty in 1992, as an assistant professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology. The appointment followed his completion of a fellowship in infectious diseases and a postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology at Einstein. Dr. Casadevall was appointed associate professor in 1996 and professor in 2000. His work with C. neoformans has led to interesting discoveries, including a potential treatment for melanoma and the suggestion of a new energy source in our universe. Dr. Casadevall received his B.A. from Queens College and his M.S., Ph.D., and M.D. from New York University. He is a resident of New Rochelle, NY.

Dr. Prasad first joined the Einstein faculty in 1990, as an assistant professor. He was named associate professor in 1996, and professor in 2001. He is world-renowned for his HIV research, including his leadership of the Einstein''s AIDS International Training and Research Program, funded by the NIH Fogarty International Center. He also is director of an Institutional AIDS Training grant, called "HIV, AIDS and Opportunistic Infections," and of the developmental core of the Center for AIDS Research, both at Einstein. Dr. Prasad currently serves on the editorial boards for the journals Frontiers in Bioscience and RNA Biology. He earned his B.S. and M.S. at the University of Myesore, in India, and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, in Bangalore, India. He is a resident of Yonkers, NY.