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Powderly receives 2023 faculty achievement award

Physician-scientist recognized for contributions to infectious diseases research, public health

June 9, 2023

Physician-scientist William G. Powderly, MD, has been chosen to receive the Carl and Gerty Cori Faculty Achievement Award at Washington University in St. Louis.

Powderly, the Dr. J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine, will be honored along with Lori Setton, PhD, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, who has been selected to receive the university’s Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award.

Chancellor Andrew D. Martin announced both awards. The two will be honored at the university’s annual Founders Day dinner in the fall.

Powderly, an infectious diseases specialist and public health leader, has made contributions to biomedical science that have shaped the landscape of infectious disease medicine and advanced public health.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Powderly led the national ACTIV-1 trial launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to evaluate, as potential treatments for COVID-19, pre-existing drugs normally prescribed for autoimmune conditions. Two of the drugs evaluated in the trial improved survival among people hospitalized with COVID-19. As the associate dean for clinical and translational science and director of the university’s Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, Powderly played a key role in coordinating Washington University’s scientific response to the pandemic by organizing emergency funding for COVID-19 research and facilitating the rapid launch of numerous studies.

Powderly is also the Larry J. Shapiro Director of the Institute for Public Health. Under his direction, the institute has focused on broadening the impact of discovery science and addressing disparities in health outcomes. In addition, Powderly is co-director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, in which capacity he oversees the clinical operations, educational programs, and clinical and translational research of the division. He also serves as an attending physician on the infectious diseases consult service, where he cares for patients and trains medical fellows, residents and students.

Powderly has been actively involved in HIV-related clinical research for over 35 years, with specific interest in opportunistic infections and long-term outcomes of antiretroviral therapy. He led a series of national randomized trials that defined the treatment of cryptococcal meningitis, an opportunistic infection that caused many deaths in patients with AIDS. In the 1990s, he led the NIH-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Unit at the School of Medicine. His work has advanced the understanding of how HIV/AIDS affects the body and helped inform optimal treatment regimens and prevention strategies.

Powderly’s achievements have earned him numerous accolades. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, the Royal College of Physicians (London) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a past president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.