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Diane Griffin Named to Institute of Medicine (web article)


Diane Griffin, PhD, MD, a renowned leader of scientific research into viral diseases and the Alfred and Jill Sommer chair of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, was elected into the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. Two researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine were also elected to membership.

Candidates are elected to this prestigious position for their major contributions to health care, medical science and public health. As members, they work with the Institute on committees and studies that address a broad range of health policy issues. Election is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health. Dr. Griffin was one of 65 new members, raising the Institute's total active membership to 1,416. With their election, members make a commitment to devote a significant amount of volunteer time as members of IOM committees, which engage in a broad range of studies on health policy issues.

Diane Griffin, MD, PHD

Diane Griffin, PhD, MD

Dr. Griffin’s research focuses on how viruses cause disease. For example, Sindbis virus, is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, in mammals and birds. She studied how the virus infects and kills selected nerve cells in mice and has identified ways that the immune system can clear virus from neurons without harming them.

Dr. Griffin is also investigating measles, a disease that continues to cause the deaths of a large number of children in developing countries. Through collaborations at a study site at University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, Dr. Griffin and her colleagues are trying to find out how measles virus infection suppresses the immune system, which can lead to serious secondary infections and even death. They’ve also discovered that measles infection suppresses replication of HIV, a phenomenon they continue to investigate. In addition, she is working to understand how the immune system protects people from infection and is using this knowledge to develop a new measles vaccine that would protect children younger than six months. Dr. Griffin is also director of the Malaria Research Institute at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, which is working to eradicate malaria.

Dr. Griffin was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in April 2004. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology and the Infectious Disease Society of America. She is a former editor of the Journal of Virology and on the editorial boards of Virology, Virus Research and the Journal of NeuroVirology. She has given numerous guest lectures and authored or co-authored more than 100 book chapters and review articles and more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Other members of the School faculty previously elected to the Institute of Medicine include Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, dean of School of Public Health; Robert Black, MD, MPH, Edgar Berman professor and chair of International Health; Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, professor of Health Policy and Management; Manning Feinleib, MD, MPH, DrPH, professor of Epidemiology; Linda Fried, MD, professor of Epidemiology; Leon Gordis, DrPH, MPH, professor of Epidemiology; Bernard Guyer, MD, MPH, professor of Population and Family Health Sciences; Robert Lawrence, MD, associate dean for Professional Practice and Programs; Paul McHugh, MD, professor of Mental Health; Neil Powe, professor of Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management; Jonathan Samet, MD, professor and chair of Epidemiology; Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, professor of Health Policy and Management; Donald Steinwachs, PhD, professor and chair of Health Policy and Management; Carl Taylor, MD, DrPH, MPH, professor of International Health; Henry Wagner, MD, professor of Environmental Health Sciences; and Edward Wallach, MD, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Thomas C. Quinn, MD, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins University Division of Infectious Diseases, and John W. Griffin, MD, chairman of the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology, were also elected to the IOM.

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Kenna Lowe or Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or