Kirsten Nielsen, PhD, a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, has been elected to the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM). Dr. Nielsen is one of 65 international fellows recognized by the AAM this year for their commitment of service to the public and their advancement of science. 

Her department shares that Dr. Nielsen was hand-picked for her “paradigm shifting studies on the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans that fundamentally changed the field’s understanding of host pathogen interactions.”

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as an Academy Fellow. I work on a neglected fungal disease, cryptococcosis, that predominantly impacts people living in poor countries,” she said. “My studies aren't as recognizable by the public as studies of other human diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. My hope is that this honor will bring more recognition to the need for more research and better treatments for this devastating disease.”

The AAM is a leadership group within the American Society of Microbiology (ASM). The selection of the Academy Fellows is a very fastidious and prestigious process. Dr. Nielsen is one of only 16 faculty members from the University of Minnesota to have been granted this honor since the program began. 

“As an Academy member, I will participate in colloquium programs that provide resources to government agencies, scientific communities and the public sector that address issues of critical importance within the microbial sciences,” she said.

A press release states that the ASM is made up of over 30,000 scientists and health practitioners. Established in 1956, the Academy of Microbiology has over 2,500 fellows from all around the world. Academy Fellows are all leaders in the field of Microbiology and are dedicated not only to their field but also to their community. To find out more, visit