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Penn Vet Parasitologist Named Penn Presidential Professor

Date: Jun 28, 2021
Dr. De'Broski Herbert
Dr. De'Broski Herbert

[June 28, 2021; PHILADELPHIA] University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann appointed De’Broski R. Herbert, PhD, in the Department of Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet), as Presidential Associate Professor.

Herbert is currently Associate Professor of Immunology, and since joining the faculty in 2016, he has established and sustained a highly productive NIH-funded research program. His research portfolio is a substantial component to the School’s renowned strength in neglected diseases of poverty. Herbert is an active collaborator with faculty at Penn Medicine who concentrate on immunologic mechanisms of disease, as well as with faculty from the Institute for Immunology, the Penn Center for Pulmonary Biology, and the Penn Digestive Diseases Center. In addition to his rigorous basic research program, Herbert is internationally recognized for his formative work in Nigeria, where he examined biological samples from children in the Hausa State in North Nigeria. This study discovered numerous worm-like organisms, or helminths, that are endemic to that region.

“As a parasitologist and immunologist, Dr. Herbert’s mission is to understand how parasites manipulate the host’s immune system to favor their survival,” said Andrew Hoffman, DVM, DSc, DACVIM, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “His work demonstrates clearly that an understanding of parasite-host interactions is key to unlocking the biology of the immune system itself, since disruption unmasks basic mechanisms that are relevant to a variety of diseases including Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.

Herbert received his BS in Microbiology from Xavier University of Louisiana, and his PhD in Immunology from Thomas Jefferson University. He did his postdoctoral research at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and he went on to hold faculty positions at the University of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation, and at the University of California at San Francisco. Herbert’s work has appeared in the Journal of Immunology, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Science Immunology, and in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; and he serves on the editorial boards of Infection and Immunity and the Journal of Immunology. Herbert holds several awards including the National Foundation of Infectious Disease Colin Powell Tropical Disease Fellowship, Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for Minorities, National Research Foundation of South Africa Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the American Association of Immunologists Travel Award. He also serves on the scientific advisory Boards for the Keystone Symposia and the American Institute for Biological Sciences.

Presidential Professorships are awarded by University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann to exceptional scholars, at any rank, who contribute to faculty eminence through scholarship and diversity across the University. They are a key feature of Penn’s Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence.