SLU Researcher Daniel Hoft Named Fellow of the Academy of Science of St. Louis
Saint Louis University researcher Daniel F. Hoft, M.D., Ph.D., has been named a fellow
of the Academy of Science of St. Louis, an organization that works to promote the
advancement and understanding of science and technology in the region.
The awardees were honored at the Outstanding St. Louis Scientists awards dinner on
Thursday, April 5, 2018 at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Since its inception, the Academy has promoted the recognition of scientists in St.
Louis, focusing the region’s attention upon individuals, institutions and corporations
known worldwide for their scientific contributions to research, industry and quality
Each award-winner represents an extraordinary caliber of expertise, and in every category,
preference is given to candidates who also have a record of excellence in communicating
with the public, mentoring colleagues and leadership in the field of science or industry.
Hoft, who is professor of internal medicine and director of the division of infectious
diseases, allergy and immunology at SLU and is a SLUCare physician, studies new approaches
for tuberculosis vaccines. Although a tuberculosis vaccine exists, protection is limited
and better vaccines are urgently needed.
Hoft’s research has examined whether mucosal vaccinations and booster vaccinations
can enhance immunity induced by conventional vaccination. He was the first to demonstrate
that human γ9δ2 T cells develop protective memory responses after vaccination, a paradigm
shift that provides an important new approach for tuberculosis vaccine development.
Hoft has advanced the understanding of Trypanosoma cruzi, the infection that causes
Chagas disease, a leading cause of infectious heart disease in Latin America for which
no vaccines exist. His lab developed vaccines that are protective in mouse models
of T. cruzi infection. He identified specific CD4 epitopes that are presented by a
large proportion of the population as promising candidates for vaccine development.
Hoft’s work has advanced influenza vaccine development. Influenza vaccines must be
reformulated every year because of viral antigenic drift. Hoft has identified T cell
epitopes that are highly conserved between different influenza strains, work that
suggests that vaccines protective against diverse influenza strains may be within
Hoft serves as director of the Saint Louis University Center for Vaccine Development,
which has received millions in NIH funding through contracts and awards, including
a Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit contract placing SLU among an elite group of
top academic centers conducting phase I through III trials of novel vaccines for global
protection against future pandemic challenges.
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction
of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates
physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health
care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new
cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease,
aging and brain disease, and infectious diseases.