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March 13, 2009

Diane Griffin Inducted into Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame

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Diane E. Griffin, MD, PhD, was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. Griffin is professor and Alfred and Jill Sommer Chair of the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and she was the founding director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. An induction ceremony was held March 12 in Annapolis, Md.

Griffin came to Johns Hopkins as a virology fellow in 1970 after earning her medical and doctoral degrees from Stanford University School of Medicine. Upon completing her postdoctoral work, she was named an assistant professor and later professor of Medicine and Neurology. She served as an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1973 to 1979. In 1994, Griffin became chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology.

Griffin is the principal investigator on a variety of grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dana Foundation. Her research focuses on how viruses cause disease, especially alpha-viruses, acute encephalitis and measles. Alpha-viruses are transmitted by mosquitoes and cause encephalitis in mammals and birds. She has identified determinants of virus virulence and mechanisms of non-cytolytic clearance of virus from infected neurons. Her studies of measles are focused on identification of the mechanisms of virus-induced immuno-suppression in the context of virus clearance. Griffin’s vaccine studies are defining the basis for atypical measles, and a new vaccine that can induce protective immunity in infants under the age of 6 months is under development.

She is the author or co-author of more than 300 scholarly papers and articles, and is the past president of the American Society for Virology, the Association of Medical School Microbiology Chairs and the American Society for Microbiology. She is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology and the Institute of Medicine.

Since 1985, the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame has honored Maryland women who have made unique and lasting contributions to the economic, political, cultural and social life of the state. The Hall of Fame was established by the Maryland Commission for Women and the Women Legislators of Maryland to provide visible models of achievement for tomorrow's female leaders.

In addition to Griffin, other Bloomberg School faculty inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame include Rita Colwell, Edyth Schoenrich and Susan Baker.