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Stockton Kimball Awardee is Noted Bacterial Pathogenesis Researcher

Published June 6, 2016

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, ’84

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD ’84

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD ’84, senior associate dean for research and graduate education, has received the 2016 Stockton Kimball Award for outstanding scientific achievement and service.

Campagnari’s research is recognized nationally and internationally for his contributions to the understanding of microbial pathogenesis.

Campagnari accepted the honor May 26 during the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Faculty and Staff Recognition Awards celebration.

‘World-Class Scientist and Extraordinary Educator’

In presenting the award, Suzanne G. Laychock, PhD, senior associate dean for faculty affairs and facilities and a professor of pharmacology and toxicology, noted Campagnari “is a faculty member and researcher of the highest order — a world-class scientist and an extraordinary mentor and educator.”

His research is recognized nationally and internationally for his contributions to the understanding of microbial pathogenesis. 

His career-long interest is in immunology and the fundamental processes in bacteria and the molecular mechanisms by which they interact with each other and with their hosts and their environments.

Campagnari seeks to develop novel therapies or vaccine antigens for middle ear disease as well as infections arising from joint replacements and prosthetic devices.

A UB alumnus himself, Campagnari earned both his master’s degree in biochemistry and doctoral degree in tumor immunology from the university.

A professor of microbiology and immunology and medicine, Campagnari was appointed at UB in 1987 and was promoted to professor in 2001.

Creative Approaches to Answering Important Questions

Among his many research highlights:

  • Campagnari’s research on mucosal pathogens led to his discovery that Moraxella catarrhalis, a strict human mucosal pathogen that is a prominent cause of otitis media (earache) in young children and lower respiratory tract infections in adults, is able to use iron from serum carrier proteins to maintain growth
  • A seminal discovery was “iron-repressible proteins,” and a groundbreaking discovery was a group of iron binding proteins that may facilitate persistent colonization of the mucosal surface.
  • His lab has experimented with photodynamic therapy and found significant bactericidal activity against biofilm-associated M. catarrhalis, suggesting a potential novel antimicrobial treatment for acute or recurrent otitis media.
  • Campagnari’s lab was the first to identify a specific cell surface protein directly involved in biofilm formation by Acinetobacter baumannii, a gram-negative nosocomial pathogen that is an emerging pathogen whose longevity in the hospital environment and resistance to many antimicrobials have made it the scourge of operating rooms and intensive care units.
  • He also played a key role in generating the comparative genome sequence analysis of multidrug-resistant A. baumannii.

“Tony’s recent work on development of a photodynamic therapy for otitis media infections is an example of the kind of innovative and translational thinking that we need in order to develop new ways to treat infections,” Laychock said.

“His research is defined by creative, ‘out-of-the-box’ approaches to answer clinically important and relevant questions that have the potential to be translated into patient care,” she noted.

Cited for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring

In addition to his groundbreaking research, Laychock noted that Campagnari is also an outstanding educator.

He exemplifies graduate mentoring excellence where he has provided primary thesis advising to his master’s, doctoral and MD-PhD trainees.

He has trained 12 graduate students and was the recipient of the UB 2015 Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award.

In his lab, he routinely involves graduate students in collaborative research focusing on bacterial biofilms.

Advances Biomedical Research Collaborations

As senior associate dean for research and graduate education, Campagnari works to advance biomedical research at UB, especially interdisciplinary and translational research collaborations.

He also oversees UB’s doctoral program in biomedical sciences. All UB doctoral students spend their first year of study in this comprehensive gateway program.

Campagnari has 73 peer-reviewed publications and eight book chapters — in addition to four patents and numerous abstracts. He is currently funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health until 2021.

He has delivered more than 30 invited national, regional and local presentations.

In recognition of his many achievements, Campagnari was honored with the UB Inventor and Entrepreneur Award in 2009, and the UB Visionary Innovator Award in 2008. He received the UB Sustained Achievement Award in the Exceptional Scholar Program in 2002.

Award Honors Former Medical School Dean

Campagnari will deliver the Stockton Kimball Lecture in 2017.

The award and lecture recognize an outstanding scholar and researcher who has also contributed significantly to the school. It is named in memory of Stockton Kimball, MD ’29, dean of the medical school from 1946 to 1958.