I am excited to share that Thomas Geisbert, PhD, Professor in our Department of Microbiology and Immunology, will be the keynote speaker for our 126th School of Medicine Commencement on Saturday, June 4th. A scientist in our Galveston National Laboratory, Dr. Geisbert is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Ebola.
Focused on emerging viruses — with a particular emphasis on viruses causing hemorrhagic fever including Ebola virus, Marburg virus, and Lassa virus — Dr. Geisbert has nearly three decades of experience working in Biosafety Level (BSL)-4 containment. He co-discovered the Reston species of Ebola virus in 1989, which garnered attention in the scientific literature and the popular press as well as Richard Preston’s best-selling novel, “The Hot Zone.”
Dr. Geisbert received his PhD in Molecular Pathobiology from the Uniformed Services University of the Heath Sciences in Bethesda, MD. From 1985 to 2007, Dr. Geisbert served in various roles for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, MD, most recently as Chief of the Department of Viral Pathology and Ultrastructure.
He holds five U.S. patents on filovirus vaccines and treatments and he has filed two provisional U.S. patents on filovirus and arenavirus vaccines. He is the author or co-author of more than 150 original articles including publication in Nature, Nature Medicine, Science Translational Medicine and the Lancet, as well as numerous book chapters.
Dr. Geisbert received two Department of the Army Commander’s Awards for Civilian Service; one for his work to identify Ebola-Reston virus and the second for his support of Operation Noble Eagle. He was among the dedicated group of Ebola fighters named collectively as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2014. Last year, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Sciences from Hood College for his outstanding Ebola research.
Dr. Geisbert is an exemplary scientist who is helping lead the fight against some of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, and I am honored he will join us as this year’s commencement speaker.