Margaret McFall-Ngai, Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology, has been awarded a 2009 Fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

During her Guggenheim term, Dr. McFall-Ngai will study the role of symbiosis in shaping evolutionary selection, specifically on the form and function of the animal immune system. The traditional view of the immunity is that its principal function is to fight microbial infection. Recognition that, to maintain a healthy state, animals require persistence associations with hundreds of species of beneficial bacteria demands that we rethink this view. To effectively incorporate the essential role of microbial symbioses into our conceptual understanding of the animal immune system, she will visit the world’s major centers of microbiology and immunology research to gain a full view of where biologists now stand on these concepts, and where they will need to go to open new horizons.