AGNR Awards Ceremony- Dr. Shi and Dr. Li Awarded

AGNR Awards Ceremony- Dr. Shi and Dr. Li Awarded

May 9, 2024

Dr.Meiqing Shi and Dr.Weizhong Li received awards at the 2024 AGNR Awards Ceremony.

Faculty Research Award-

Dr. Meiqing Shi is known for his outstanding research, teaching, and service. Since joining UMD in 2011, he has become a leading expert in veterinary medicine, particularly in studying immune defense and infectious diseases like fungal infections caused by Cryptococcus neoformans and “African sleeping sickness” caused by the parasite Trypanosoma brucei. To control these dangerous diseases, Meiqing’s research focuses on how the immune cells interact with the pathogens that cause them, and how these pathogens pass into the brain. He has been incredibly productive, having published 78 refereed papers, including both original research and review articles. He has served as a first or corresponding author on 53 of them. Many of his papers have been published in prestigious journals such as PNAS and Nature Communications. Since 2017, he has obtained five competitive extramural grants, including four R21 grants and one R01 grant as the Principal Investigator from NIH NIAID, totaling $3,572,220.

Beyond his research, Meiqing is committed to mentoring students and serving the academic community. He has guided many students and actively participates on AGNR committees, sharing his knowledge for the benefit of others. At the university level, Meiqing serves as the AGNR graduate program reviewer for the degree audit implementation, on the University Senate, and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

He has exceptional qualities as a scholar, mentor, and colleague. His dedication to advancing knowledge, along with his passion for helping others, makes him a standout faculty member. Meiqing’s collaborative nature and commitment to excellence make him a deserving candidate for this award, and his contributions to veterinary medicine and public health will continue to make a lasting impact.

On-Campus Professional Track Faculty Excellence Award

Dr. Weizhong Li has made significant contributions to the university with his research focused on mucosal vaccine development preventing respiratory infections in animals and humans. His research has led to significant discoveries in the development of innovative nasal vaccines against the influenza virus. This innovative discovery has helped the Department of Veterinary Medicine secure more than 3.2 million dollars of research funding from NIH and other funding agencies.

Weizhong has been contributing significantly to the development of various SARS-CoV-2 spike vaccine antigens for nasal vaccination since January 2020. His research paper, published in Nature Communications, has been recognized as one of the top 25 most downloaded COVID-19 articles published by the journal in 2023. Weizhong’s research on the COVID-19 nasal vaccine has been instrumental in the department’s efforts to apply for multiple millions of dollars in research funding from NIH and other agencies. These grants will help to develop cross-protective pan-coronavirus vaccine antigens for nasal delivery. If the funding is granted, Weizhong’s research background will play a critical role in the successful completion of this project.

Weizhong is not only a published researcher but also a co-inventor. He has been issued two patents in the United States and has filed two patent applications with the US Patent Office. In 2022, Weizhong was recognized and received the Inventor of the Year award for his COVID-19 research at the University of Maryland. Impressively, all of his patents have been exclusively licensed to a start-up biotech company based in Maryland.

Congratulations to Dr.Shi and Dr.Li!