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Wistar Appoints Ami Patel, Ph.D., as Caspar Wistar Fellow

PHILADELPHIA — (Sept. 14, 2020) — The Wistar Institute, an international biomedical research leader in cancer, immunology, infectious disease research, and vaccine creation, announces the appointment of Ami Patel, Ph.D., as a Caspar Wistar Fellow in the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center.

Dr. Patel’s research focuses on strategies to combat emerging infectious diseases, including engineering vaccines and immunotherapies against viral and bacterial pathogens. Her independent program will expand Wistar’s expertise in pandemic preparedness and response to emerging outbreaks.

As a Caspar Wistar Fellow, Dr. Patel will embark on an independent path where her lab will harness the human immune system using next-generation technologies to improve public health.

“Emerging pathogens are of deep interest to me, as my work on the avian flu, swine flu, Ebola, and the current COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated,” said Patel. “As an infectious disease scientist, I always ask myself ‘What will be the next outbreak, what do we need to understand to quicken our response and how can we help our bodies fight the pathogen?’ The COVID-19 pandemic is the perfect example of why reaction time to halt an outbreak matters and how effective technologies and resources are needed to develop vaccines. The Caspar Wistar Fellowship gives me the opportunity to pursue my own research ideas while still enjoying a lot of hands-on research and benefiting from mentoring in the highly collaborative environment at Wistar.”

The Caspar Wistar Fellows Program nurtures outstanding young scientists during their critical early years as independent investigators, creating a springboard for them to launch their careers and join the next generation of scientific leaders. The Program was made possible by the support of Wistar Board of Trustees member Doug Briggs and his wife Peggy.

“As a Wistar supporting partner, it is inspiring to see a promising early-career scientist that is so clear in her research goals and steadfast in her pursuit of biomedical innovation excellence,” said Doug Briggs. “Peggy and I could not be more pleased to see our second Caspar Wistar Fellow fast-tracked to reach her potential and beyond. We believe Dr. Patel will go on to do great things in science.”

Prior to her latest appointment, Patel conducted postdoctoral research at the San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy, Milan, Italy, and at Wistar in the lab of David Weiner, Ph.D. She received a Ph.D. in medical microbiology from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. Her doctoral research was performed in the Special Pathogens Program at the Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, Canada.

“Both mentorship and freedom to pursue a strong, independent research program are the key components to this Program,” said Dario Altieri, M.D., Wistar president and CEO. “I’m delighted that our quest to find the best and brightest led us to Dr. Ami Patel. Her research strengths in novel engineering approaches for in vivo gene delivery using DNA platforms for emerging infectious diseases and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are a perfect asset as we build-out our pandemic response team.”


The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer, immunology, infectious diseases and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.

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