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Stony Brook prof wins international award

A Stony Brook University professor has won an international virology award for his work on the poliovirus genome.

Dr. Eckard Wimmer, a professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, received the M.W. Beijerinck Virology Prize from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the university announced yesterday.

The award is given every three years. Wimmer was recognized for his contributions to the genetic virology field and his lifelong work on poliovirus, which can lead to the nerve disease polio.

“Dr. Wimmer’s body of work has made an enormous impact in international research in virology and cell biology, and especially in the area of poliovirus,” Dr. Jorge L. Benach, director of Stony Brook’s Center for Infectious Diseases, said in a statement. “For more than 35 years, Dr. Wimmer has enriched our department and entire University. Prior recipients of this international prize include the most well-known and accomplished virologists, a group in which Dr. Wimmer richly deserves to be.”

Wimmer, a Setauket resident, was traveling and not available for comment Monday.

In a statement from the university, Wimmer, a member of the Stony Brook faculty since 1974, said he spent his career focused on viruses because he is fascinated by their “dual nature as chemicals and self-replicating, pathogenic entities” — or “chemicals with a life cycle.”

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