Sean Whelan, the Marvin A. Brennecke Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named the LGBTQ+ Scientist of the Year by the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals for his work on emerging infectious diseases.
Whelan developed genetic approaches to engineer a harmless virus to carry proteins from lethal viruses — such as the ones that cause Ebola and SARS — so scientists could rapidly and safely learn how such viruses infect cells and replicate. Information gleaned from such studies may help design vaccines or therapies for deadly infectious diseases. The technique he developed may help accelerate research to combat the current coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19.
An openly gay man, Whelan is a strong advocate for diversity in science. Read more on the School of Medicine site.