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Jason McLellan Awarded O'Donnell Award in Medicine


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This month, Dr. Jason McLellan received the 2022 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award in Medicine from TAMEST (The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas). His research laid the groundwork for vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax. They all utilized his spike protein discovery in their efforts to create and distribute life-saving vaccines. The TAMEST 2022 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award is awarded to individuals whose contributions address the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of exemplary professional performance, creativity and resourcefulness. 

Last year, McLellan was selected also as recipient of the Shirley Bird Perry Longhorn Citizenship Award. This award was created by Sam Perry in 2017, with the purpose of recognizing one or more university students, members of the faculty, staff, administration, or alumni for an individual or collective act that brings honor to The University and that positively impacts civic life. The recipient of this award is to be a trusted, engaged citizen who demonstrates exceptional judgement, compassion for others, boundless energy and a strong work ethic as well as notable pride and love for The University of Texas. 

He also was named the 2021 Texas Inventor of the Year for his role in biomedical research linked to the development of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. The award is given annually by the State Bar of Texas' Intellectual Property Law Section in recognition of an individual whose invention "has scientifically impacted the Texas economy."

The vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, and Novavax, all use the patented technology McLellan and the tram developed in 2017, when he was a faculty member in Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine. The invention also has applications for treatments such as antibody therapies. 

To date, hundreds of millions of people across the globe have been immunized against COVID-19 with vaccines that use the team's spike protein technology. 

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