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Eddie Holmes Receives 2010 Faculty Scholars Medal

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Established in 1980, the award recognizes scholarly or creative excellence represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. A committee of faculty peers reviews nominations and selects candidates.

Dr. Holmes has emerged as the world’s leading expert in the evolution of viruses. He has developed unique computational tools to discover the processes and patterns of the evolution of viruses. Dr. Holmes’ early work in virus evolution focused on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS.  His contributions related to the HIV virus include the first description of the intra-host evolution of HIV, the determination of the global genetic structure of HIV, the first use of HIV in forensic science, and the demonstration of the role of sexual transmission of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.

 Dr. Holmes’ more recent accomplishments include the first studies of the rates of population growth and decline in RNA viruses which lead to the development of a new field of study denoted  phylodynamics, (2) the first study of the genome-wide evolutionary dynamics in an RNA virus, (3) discovery of the evolutionary mechanisms underlying viral emergence, (4) the spread of viruses in host populations and the long-term evolutionary fate of viruses. With recent outbreak of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) Professor Holmes was immediately at the forefront in leading the effort to understand the origins and possible evolutionary trajectory of a global flu pandemic.