Adam Driks, PhD, Named Senior Scientist of the Year; Renzhi Han, PhD, Named Junior Scientist of the Year

News Archive October 25, 2013

Adam Driks, PhD, Named Senior Scientist of the Year; Renzhi Han, PhD, Named Junior Scientist of the Year

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Adam Driks, PhD, one of the world’s leading experts on bacterial spores, including those causing anthrax, has been named 2013 Senior Scientist of the Year at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Renzhi Han, PhD, who is studying the molecular mechanisms underlying muscular dystrophy, has been named 2013 Junior Scientist of the Year.

The primary focus of Driks’s research program is the bacterial spore, a dormant cell type formed by several important bacterial pathogens. With colleagues at the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense, Driks is developing new countermeasures against Bacillus anthracis, a biological warfare threat agent. He also is researching Clostridium difficile, the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections.

Driks is a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Department Chair Katherine L. Knight, PhD, said, “Dr. Driks is a model academic scientist, excelling in research, teaching, and service.”

Driks’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense. He is an associate editor for the Journal of Bacteriology and Molecular Microbiology and an editor of PLOS ONE. Driks has served on panels for the NIH and many other federal agencies.
Driks received his PhD at Brandeis University and did postdoctoral training at Harvard University before joining Loyola. He lives in Chicago.

Han has published high-impact research articles in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Communications, and other journals.

Since joining Loyola, he has received four research grants: an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant, a Muscular Dystrophy Association Research Award, and two National Institutes of Health R01 grants examining the molecular and pathophysiological mechanisms of muscular dystrophy.

Han is a member of the editorial boards of Pflugers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology, Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering, and Musculoskeletal Biology. He has been invited to review grant applications for the American Heart Association, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Physiology study section of the NIH, Ohio Cancer Research Associates, and the British Skin Foundation.

Han is an assistant professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology. “Dr. Han exemplifies everything a successful and responsible young faculty member should be, and serves as a fantastic role model for his peers,” said Department Chair Pieter P. de Tombe, PhD.

Han received his PhD with Distinction from the University of Western Australia and did postdoctoral training at the University of Iowa before joining Loyola. He lives in Western Springs.

Driks and Han were honored during Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine’s St. Albert’s Day event, an annual campus-wide celebration of research.

The Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division (HSD) advances interprofessional, multidisciplinary, and transformative education and research while promoting service to others through stewardship of scientific knowledge and preparation of tomorrow's leaders. The HSD is located on the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois. It includes the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the Stritch School of Medicine, the biomedical research programs of the Graduate School, and several other institutes and centers encouraging new research and interprofessional education opportunities across all of Loyola University Chicago. The faculty and staff of the HSD bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong commitment to seeing that Loyola's health sciences continue to excel and exceed the standard for academic and research excellence. For more on the HSD, visit
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