Adolfo García-Sastre, PhD, is Director of the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute and Professor in both the Department of Microbiology and the Department of Medicine (Division of Infectious Diseases) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. García-Sastre is also Principal Investigator at the Center for Research on Influenza Pathogenesis, cited as one of five Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
For the past 20 years, Dr. García-Sastre’s research interest has been focused on the molecular biology of influenza viruses and several other negative strand ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses. He has made major contributions to the influenza virus field, including the development of reverse genetics techniques allowing the generation of recombinant influenza viruses from plasmid deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) through studies in collaboration with Peter Palese, PhD; the generation and evaluation of influenza virus vectors as potential vaccine candidates against different infectious diseases, including malaria and AIDS; the identification of the biological role of the non-structural protein NS1 of influenza virus during infection: the inhibition of the type I interferon (IFN) system; and the reconstruction and characterization of the extinct pandemic influenza virus of 1918. Dr. García-Sastre’s studies provided the first description and molecular analysis of a viral-encoded IFN antagonist among negative strand RNA viruses. These studies led to the generation of attenuated influenza viruses containing defined mutations in their IFN antagonist protein that might prove to be optimal live vaccines against influenza.
Dr. García-Sastre’s research has resulted in more than 450 scientific publications and reviews. He was among the first members of the Vaccine Study Section of the National Institutes of Health and a member of the Virology B Study Section for five years. In addition, Dr. García-Sastre has served for five years as editor of The Journal of Experimental Medicine, is also editor for PLoS Pathogens, Journal of Virology, and Virus Research, and is a member of the editorial board for Virology, Vaccine, NPJ Vaccines, and Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses. He is a member of the scientific advisory board of Keystone Symposia and, in 2001, co-organized both the international course on Viral Vectors, sponsored by the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, and the first Research Conference on Orthomyxoviruses, sponsored by the European Scientific Working Group on Influenza. Dr. García-Sastre has also co-organized the 7th International Society for Vaccines meeting in 2013, as well as the Keystone Meeting on Respiratory Virus Pathogenesis in 2014. His publication in Science on the reconstruction and characterization of the pandemic influenza virus of 1918 was awarded paper of the year by Lancet in 2005. That same year, Dr. García-Sastre became a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and in 2009, he received the Beijerinck Professorship from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. García-Sastre was elected President of the International Society for Vaccines in 2014 and 2015.
In 2016, Dr. García-Sastre was awarded the Mount Sinai Jacobi Medallion Award for his distinguished achievements in medicine and extraordinary service to the Mount Sinai community.