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James Konopka Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology

James Konopka
James Konopka, PhD, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

STONY BROOK, N.Y., April 21, 2016– James Konopka, PhD, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM). Dr. Konopka will be recognized with other  2016 newly elected AAM Fellows on June 17 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

The AAM is a prestigious leadership group of the American Society for Microbiology, the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world. According to the ASM, Academy Fellows are leaders in the field of microbiology and are elected through a highly selective peer review process based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology.

Dr. Konopka became a faculty member of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology when he came to Stony Brook in 1991. His laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms that promote the development of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans, which can cause lethal systemic infections. He and lab colleagues focus on experimentation to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention and to find ways to use antifungal drugs more effectively against C albicans.

Dr. Konopka also studies other pathogenic fungi, and his research has been recognized by scientists nationally as promising for the development of new ways to treat fungal infections. To further his antifungal drug strategy, Dr. Konopka has also received the Fusion-Seed Grant Award from Stony Brook University School of Medicine. He has received research support over the years from leading organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Konopka developed an interest in microorganisms while working on a BS in Microbiology at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).  He earned a PhD in Microbiology at UCLA, where his studies on a virus that causes leukemia in mice provided important insights that have helped others to develop new treatments for human Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.  

During his postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington, Dr. Konopka switched his interests to fungal microorganisms with Dr. Leland Hartwell, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine in 2001 for studies on the regulation of the cell division cycle in yeast.  

Also an educator, Dr. Konopka has been invited for 13 straight years by the Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory in Massachusetts to be an Instructor of Molecular Mycology. At Stony Brook University, Dr. Konopka teaches graduate students and medical students in courses that deal with the genetics, cell biology, and pathogenesis of microorganisms.

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About Stony Brook University 

Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,450 acres. Since welcoming its first incoming class in 1957, the University has grown tremendously, now with more than 25,000 students and 2,500 faculty. Its membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 100 universities in the nation and top 40 public universities, and Kiplinger names it one of the 35 best values in public colleges. One of four University Center campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory, putting it in an elite group of universities that run federal research and development laboratories. A global ranking by U.S. News & World Report places Stony Brook in the top 1 percent of institutions worldwide.  It is one of only 10 universities nationwide recognized by the National Science Foundation for combining research with undergraduate education. As the largest single-site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook is a driving force of the regional economy, with an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion, generating nearly 60,000 jobs, and accounts for nearly 4 percent of all economic activity in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and roughly 7.5 percent of total jobs in Suffolk County. 

Greg Filiano
Media Relations Manager
School of Medicine
Stony Brook University
Office of Communications and Marketing
631-444-9343
Gregory.filiano@stonybrookmedicine.edu