Prof. Antonio Lanzavecchia, M.D.
Prof. Antonio Lanzavecchia, MD is one of the most influential and most cited immunologists in Europe and worldwide. During his scientific career he has worked on a wide range of core topics on innate and acquired immunity. For his outstanding research work, he will now receive the Ernst Jung Medal for Medicine in Gold 2021, an award presented annually by the Hamburg Jung Foundation for Science and Research to top researchers whose life's work has made and continues to make a significant contribution to medical progress.
Effectively combating infectious diseases
Viruses, bacteria, and fungi remain a major threat to human health. Antonio Lanzavecchia has significantly contributed to our current understanding of how our immune system protects us us from pathogens and how to better use these defence mechanisms. The 69-year-old immunologist is emeritus professor at ETH Zurich and at USI Lugano and senior research fellow and scientific founder of Humabs Biomed, a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company Vir Biotechnology. He is currently continuing his academic research at the National Institute of Molecular Genetics, INGM in Milano. During his career, he has investigated the cells of the adaptive immune system that maintain an immunological memory and confer life-long protection against pathogens or vaccines previously encountered. Over the last decade, Lanzavecchia has continued to achieve milestones in the field of antibody specificity and the generation of neutralising antibodies against a broad spectrum of common as well as rare infections such as influenza, SARS, dengue, ebola, malaria and HIV. These antibodies are developed for prophylaxis and therapy of infectious diseases and are used as tools for the development of vaccines.