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Newsmaker: Graham Hatfull

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By Marie Wilson
Monday, June 21, 2010

Graham Hatfull

Age : 52

Residence: Upper St. Clair

Family : Wife, Katrine Pflanze; sons Fred, 20, and Roger, 16

Occupation : Biological sciences professor and department chair at the University of Pittsburgh

Education : Bachelor's degree in biological sciences from the University of London's Westfield College, 1978; doctorate in molecular biology from the University of Edinburgh, 1981

Noteworthy : In May, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute re-named Hatfull an HHMI professor and granted him $800,000 to support his research about bacteriophages, or viruses that infect bacteria.

Background : Hatfull has been an HHMI professor since 2002 and has received $2.3 million from the organization. He has used the money to fund a program called Phage Hunters, which allows novice researchers to identify and study new types of bacteriophages. In 2008, Phage Hunters became the first educational program to be implemented nationally by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. About 570 undergraduate freshmen at 24 institutions researched bacteriophages through the program during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Quote : "It's absolutely magic. I was very privileged and delighted to be one of 20 professors that was appointed in 2002 when they first started this particular program. ... So absolutely it's an unusual honor and I'm humbled and delighted by it."

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