Patricia J. Johnson, professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics in the UCLA College, has been named the recipient of the Alice and C.C. Wang Award by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
The award, which consists of $35,000 for use by the recipient’s research laboratory, a plaque and travel expenses to attend the society’s annual meeting to present a lecture, honors researchers for their contributions to the field of molecular parasitology.
The Wang award is given for research that is limited to protozoan parasites, but otherwise broadly defined, including, but not limited to, biochemistry, molecular biology, gene regulation, metabolism, cell biology, development biology and host–pathogen interactions.
Johnson’s laboratory focuses on the molecular and cellular biology of a single cellular parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. This microbe is responsible for the most prevalent, non-viral, sexually transmitted infection worldwide and is the most common parasite found in the U.S. population. An estimated 275 million people worldwide have the parasite, including approximately 3.7 million in the United States. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified trichomoniasis, the infection caused by T. vaginalis, as one of the “neglected parasitic infections in the United States.”