Janet Yamamoto, PhD., professor of immunology at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, today received the University of Florida Research Foundation professorship. The university’s division of sponsored research sponsors the professorship, which awards professors for a three-year term to tenured faculty for distinguished research and scholarship that is expected to lead to continuing distinction in their field.
The award includes a $5,000 salary increase each year for three years and a one-time $3,000 award for research support.
Yamamoto is a co-discoverer of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in cats and also developed the first FIV vaccine, a dual-subtype vaccine that was the first for any lentiviral disease. She holds patents on key practical technologies related to the FIV virus.
“As Dr. Yamamoto’s department chair, I have had the opportunity to observe her intense focus on advancing her basic research findings to the point that they constitute practical advances in feline medicine, which is how she conceptualizes and pursues her research goals,” says John Dame, Ph.D., chairman of the immunology department. “Her research is at the molecular level, but she has never lost sight of her goal of translating her research findings into practical products.”
Dr. Dame says Yamamoto’s initial career goal was to develop a vaccine against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS in humans.
“Based upon exciting discoveries she has made in the feline AIDS model, that goal has become an even higher priority,” Dame says.
In 2005, Yamamoto published in the journal AIDS that the HIV-1 p24 antigen is an effective immunogen in cats.
“This award could not have been achieved without the dedication of my laboratory members,” Yamamoto says. “They include my longtime scientists, Ruiyu Pu, DVM, Ph.D., who has worked in my lab for 20 years; James Coleman, Ph.D., who has worked with me for 13 years; and our most recent associate, Jeffrey Abbott, DVM., Ph.D.”