Alumnus Recognized for Lifetime Achievements
Penn State Graduate School alumnus H. Steven “Hank” Seifert received the Penn State Graduate School Alumni Society (GSAS) Lifetime Achievement Award on March 24 at the annual GSAS Recognition Dinner. The award is presented to alumni who have achieved exceptional success throughout the course of their career and have demonstrated loyalty to the University and the Alumni Association.
Acclaimed for his outstanding scientific, administrative and educational accomplishments throughout the years, Seifert is the John E. Porter Professor of Biomedical Sciences in the Microbiology-Immunology Department of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. He has been a member of the faculty at Northwestern since 1988.
From 1999 to 2004, Seifert served as Director of the Driskill Graduate Program in Life Sciences, formerly the Integrated Graduate Program, the second-largest doctoral degree program at Northwestern. In addition, from 1998 to 2015, he was associate chair of the Department of Microbiology-Immunology, and served as acting chair of that department in 2001.
Seifert joined the Northwestern University Graduate School as the associate dean for student affairs in August 2015. As associate dean for student affairs, Seifert oversees the Graduate School’s Student Affairs Office, Student Life Office, Training Grant Support Office, and Postdoctoral Affairs Office.
Seifert is one of the world’s experts on molecular genetics and pathogenesis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections. Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a gram negative bacteria and an important pathogen responsible for a widespread sexually transmitted infection. His laboratory is most noted for the study of pilin ‘antigenic variation’ by Neisseria, an important process used by the bacteria to avoid detection by the immune system. An international leader in his field, Seifert has collaborated with many other laboratories throughout the world.
Seifert’s research program has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for 27 years, and he currently holds the prestigious R37 MERIT Award from the NIH-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the second 10-year MERIT Award he has received.
Seifert has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and 20 book chapters, commentaries and reviews, and presented over 140 invited symposia and seminar presentations worldwide.
Seifert received a doctoral degree in molecular and cell biology from Penn State and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Beloit College.
In addition to creating a distinguished record of research, publication and service, Seifert has established an enduring legacy of steadfast support for the students, postdoctoral fellows and technicians who have passed through his classes and laboratories. His impact was reflected in his selection for the 2011 Feinberg School of Medicine Faculty-Mentor of the Year Award in Basic Science.
Seifert’s impressive list of honors and awards includes his recognition as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. He was also awarded an Astor Visiting Lectureship at Oxford University in 2012.