Akiko Iwasaki, Ph.D.

Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases); Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine, is currently an Investigator of the HHMI, Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of the Department of Immunobiology as well as Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology. Her research focuses on the mechanisms of immune defense against viruses at the mucosal surfaces. Her laboratory is interested in how innate recognition of viral infections lead to the generation of adaptive immunity, and how adaptive immunity mediates protection against subsequent viral challenge. Since early 2020, when the pandemic began, Dr. Iwasaki’s laboratory has been at the forefront of and made many crucial contributions to COVID-19 research. The research conducted by her and her team addresses a variety of COVID-19-related questions, ranging from establishing a new mouse model to help researchers replicate and study how the virus works in humans, to the use of a saliva test not only for diagnosis, but also to determine  who will develop complications from the disease. Finally, Dr. Iwasaki is also well known for her Twitter advocacy for women and underrepresented minorities in the science and medicine fields.