News Release

December 18, 2009

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

Health Center Researcher Honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Leo Lefrançois of the University of Connecticut Health Center has been awarded the distinction of American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Fellow. Fellows are elected by their peers in recognition of their scientific contributions. Lefrançois will be formally inducted during the AAAS annual meeting in February 2010.

Lefrançois, professor of immunology and director of both the Center for Integrated Immunology and Vaccine Research and the Flow Cytometry Facility, was recognized for his distinguished contributions to the understanding of T cell memory responses, trafficking, and development.

T cells, also known as T lymphocytes, are cells that are instrumental in the development and function of the body’s immune system. Lefrançois' lab studies the immune response to infection and in particular is interested in how long-term immunological memory is generated and maintained, since producing memory is a goal for successful vaccination. Lefrançois' lab has published a number of pioneering studies including one in which laser scanning microscopy was used to reveal for the first time the anatomy of an ongoing immune response to infection. Lefrançois' findings could ultimately be used to help develop better therapies for enhancing the fight against infection or for blocking the response in autoimmune disorders.

Lefrançois has published more than 130 research and review articles and is an elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering. He is an advisory board member of the Journal of Experimental Medicine and councilor, Society for Mucosal Immunology Board of Directors.

AAAS is an international non-profit organization and is dedicated to advancing science around the world. It’s the world’s largest general scientific society and its activities include publication of the journal Science, as well as educational and policy initiatives.

Caption: Leo Lefrançois, professor of immunology, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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