The Robert Koch Foundation has announced that Michel Nussenzweig has won the 2016 Robert Koch Award, one of Germany's most prestigious scientific awards recognizing accomplishments in research of infectious diseases. He will share the €100,000 prize with Alberto Montavani. The award will be presented at an official ceremony on November 4 at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Berlin, Germany.
Nussenzweig studies molecular aspects of the immune system's adaptive and innate responses, specifically B lymphocytes and antibodies to HIV-1 and dendritic cells. His research has led to the development of innovative new vaccines against pathogens and new treatments for autoimmunity. Much of the work in the Nussenzweig laboratory focuses on isolating and cloning human antibodies for use in clinical studies of HIV-1 prevention and therapy. In clinical trials, 3BNC117, a broadly neutralizing antibody isolated from an HIV-infected patient, was shown to interfere with chronic infection in a way that traditional antiretroviral therapy does not, suggesting it could lead to long-term control of the virus.