HudsonAlpha prize nice; meeting Myers real thrill

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The Huntsville Times

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‘Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long friendship’

Dr. Casey Weaver wasn’t after the $20,000, but he’ll take it.

The immunology researcher at the UAB School of Medicine said his primary goal in getting nominated for the HudsonAlpha Prize wasn’t to win it so much as to get to know the director of the institute that awards it.

Because of his work in immunology, Weaver, 52, said he could benefit greatly from collaborating with Dr. Rick Myers, director of the HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology.

"He’s a busy man, but I really wanted the chance to interact with him so we could discuss the genome project work done at HudsonAlpha and how I might be able to have access to his DNA computations for our research," Weaver said after a Friday afternoon presentation of the award.

"If I have to win a ($20,000) prize to get his attention, that’s fine with me. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship."

Casey said the research that won him the HudsonAlpha Prize for Outstanding Innovation in Life Sciences involved the discovery of a new class of immune cells called Th17. He’s also a professor of pathology, medicine and microbiology at UAB.

By Patricia McCarter
Times Staff Writer