LJI COVID-19 researchers Alba Grifoni and Alessandro Sette win top honors from the Spanish Society of Immunology
La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) Instructor Alba Grifoni, Ph.D., and Professor Alessandro Sette, Dr.Biol.Sci., have received the Boulle-SEI International Award. This award, presented by La Sociedad Española de Inmunología (Spanish Society of Immunology) and the Jean Boulle Group, emphasizes the global impact of the pair’s studies into how T cells respond to SARS-CoV-2.
“I am very honored and humbled to receive this award, which also recognizes the importance of T cells in SARS-CoV-2,” says Grifoni. “Like us scientists, the immune system works as a team, and we need all the possible components to properly fight this virus.”
“I am very proud of the award that recognized a strong team effort at LJI, and several other groups in the United States, Europe and Asia, with whom we regularly exchange information and collaborate,” adds Sette. “The response to COVID has been truly a global undertaking.”
Sette was also recently elected to be an Honorary Member of the Accademia Medica di Roma (Medical Academy of Rome), a prestigious position that holds special significance as recognition from Sette’s peers in Italy, his home country.
“The Accademia was established in 1875 to promote progress in Medical Sciences,” says Sette. “It is a great honor for me to have been nominated to be part of this select group of scientists and physicians and will further reinforce the connection between my lab and Italian scientists.”
The researchers have led critical COVID-19 studies since early 2020. They work in close collaboration with the labs of LJI Professors Shane Crotty, Ph.D. and Research Assistant Professor Daniela Weiskopf, Ph.D.
Their latest collaboration suggests that the T cells activated by COVID-19 vaccines can also recognize the fast-moving Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant. As Sette recently told The New York Times, “It appears the T cell response is largely preserved.”