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UTHSC microbiologist receives international recognition (7-19-00)

Joel B. Baseman, Ph.D., professor and chairman, Department of Microbiology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC), received the prestigious Klieneberger-Nobel Award and Medal at a ceremony today (July 19) in Fukuoka, Japan.

The award recognizes outstanding career research achievements in the field of mycoplasmology. This branch of microbiology relates to the study of mycoplasmas, unique "cell wall-less" bacteria that cause common acute and chronic diseases, including respiratory and genito-urinary infections, joint inflammation and arthritis, and central nervous system and cardiovascular involvement. Mycoplasmas also are implicated in asthma, AIDS progression, Gulf War Illnesses (GWI) and many other infections.

Dr. Baseman, one of the world’s preeminent authorities on mycoplasmas, directs several research projects sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and serves as director of the NIAID Sexually Transmitted Diseases Cooperative Research Center in San Antonio. It is one of only six such centers in the United States. Dr. Baseman also oversees the central scientific laboratory in the country testing the bloods of Gulf War veterans to determine the role of mycoplasmas in GWI progression.

"Dr. Joel Baseman has been a major leader in the development of fundamental knowledge on the pathogenicity and molecular biology of mycoplasmas—microbial organisms that play such an important role in a variety of human and animal diseases," said Joseph G. Tully, Ph.D., former chief of the Mycoplasma Section, Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, at the NIAID.

"Joel and his outstanding collaborative group at UTHSC in San Antonio have defined the molecular and genetic mechanisms by which mycoplasmas attach to cells, how the organism is able to evade host defenses and literally invade the intracellular space of such cells, and how the host responds to such events. All of these important contributions have helped mycoplasmologists and clinicians to recognize, diagnose and treat such infections in their early stages, and thus to reduce the ability of these organisms to initiate long-term and more serious chronic diseases. Joel’s outstanding and impressive record of career contributions in research on mycoplasmas is the basis for his well-deserved award."

The International Organization for Mycoplasmology (IOM) bestows the Klieneberger-Nobel Award and Medal every other year at the official IOM Congress. As the 2000 honoree, Dr. Baseman is presenting the invited Klieneberger-Nobel Lecture during the Congress in Fukuoka.

Contact: Will Sansom