UF HIV/AIDS expert awarded prestigious science and policy fellowship

Maureen Goodenow, Ph.D., the Stephany W. Holloway University Endowed Chair for AIDS Research in the UF College of Medicine department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine.

A noted University of Florida professor selected for a prestigious fellowship will serve as a science adviser at the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Maureen Goodenow, Ph.D., the Stephany W. Holloway University Endowed Chair for AIDS Research in the UF College of Medicine department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine and one of the nation’s leading experts in HIV/AIDS research, has been named a 2012-2013 Jefferson Science Fellow by the U.S. Department of State.

Goodenow, one of just 13 fellows selected from around the country and the first from UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center, will contribute to foreign policy discussions in the State Department.

“This is an amazing opportunity to really learn what considerations in the realm of science and technology are included in developing foreign policy and how, as scientists, we can have a direct impact.” Goodenow said.

Goodenow is the second UF faculty member and one of five Florida scientists to become a Jefferson fellow since the program, a partnership between the academic community and the Department of State that is administered by the National Academy of Sciences, was established in 2003.

“We are confident that Dr. Goodenow will make a significant contribution to the missions of the Department of State and the USAID during her fellowship year and in the years beyond, when she returns to the University of Florida as a Jefferson alumna,” said Bill Colglazier, Ph.D., science and technology adviser to the secretary of state.

For more than two decades, Goodenow has focused her research on understanding how HIV and other viruses cause disease. An expert in pediatric HIV, she is credited with initiating the use of an early HIV drug to curb transmission of the virus from pregnant women to their babies. Her work has led to more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and, in the last eight years alone, more than $20 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health.

“Dr. Goodenow has shown a tremendous commitment to advancing medical science through innovative and groundbreaking research in molecular virology,” said Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the UF College of Medicine. “Her scientific contributions have been transformative, as will be her impact on future international health policy.”

Science underlies a host of foreign policy issues such as food security, climate change, aviation technology and global health. One notable acknowledgment of the role of public health and science in foreign policy came in 2003, when then Secretary of State Colin Powell said the HIV/AIDS pandemic can undermine governments, destroy countries and destabilize entire regions.

Goodenow joins the ranks of 66 distinguished past fellows from institutions such as Harvard University, Cornell University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who have served in a variety of bureaus and agencies such as the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Bureau of Economics, Energy and Business Affairs and even in U.S. embassies overseas.

“It is not surprising that Dr. Goodenow, a world-class scientist, educator and academic leader, was selected for this fellowship,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs and president of the UF&Shands Health System. “She is adept at solving challenging scientific questions and forging strong cross-disciplinary collaborations, traits that will translate well to the foreign policy arena.”

On completion of the one-year fellowship, Goodenow plans to use her new knowledge and network of contacts to develop new interdisciplinary global health initiatives at UF.

Goodenow has trained and collaborated extensively with researchers from around the world, including from Brazil, Spain, Italy and Kazakhstan, and she has led and participated in many national and international initiatives of the National Institutes of Health. Her work has given her a global perspective on the sociological, economic and political ramifications of disease. That makes her an ideal candidate for the Jefferson fellowship, colleagues said.

“This well-deserved honor is an acknowledgment of the breadth and depth of Dr. Goodenow’s expertise, her remarkable leadership and communication skills and the high esteem in which she is held in the national and international scientific communities,” said Carl W. Dieffenbach, Ph.D., director of the Division of AIDS in the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “It is fitting that Dr. Goodenow’s voice will be among those providing a scientific perspective on policy issues of national and international  importance.”

Goodenow is the director of the Florida Center for AIDS Research and of the Center for Research in Pediatric Immune Deficiency, a member of the UF Genetics Institute, and the leader of the molecular oncology program in the UF Shands Cancer Center. She is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology and the journal AIDS. Goodenow has won many awards and fellowships, including the UF College of Medicine’s basic research award and the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine fellowship,  a national program that prepares women faculty for leadership roles.

Longtime collaborator John Sleasman, M.D., the Robert A. Good endowed chair in immunology and chief of allergy, immunology and rheumatology at the University of South Florida, praised Goodenow’s keen ability to conceptualize a problem then develop novel ways to solve it, often borrowing solutions from seemingly unrelated fields.

“She is the perfect scientific diplomat,” he said.