Mergia named UF Research Foundation Professor
Dr. Ayalew Mergia, a biomedical researcher at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, has received a UF Research Foundation professorship.
Sponsored by the university’s Division of Sponsored Research, the professorships are awarded to tenured faculty members campus wide for distinguished research and scholarship. The honor includes a $5,000 salary increase each year for three years and a one-time $3,000 award for research support.
Mergia, a professor in the college’s department of Infectious Disease and Pathology, studies cellular proteins that modulate the HIV replication in combination with strategies that target the viral genome as therapeutics for HIV infection. Such an application will be superior in controlling HIV infection and safeguard against viral escape mutants. Using mice as animal models and foamy virus based vector as vehicle, Mergia is researching ways the antiviral gene therapy could be used to prevent AIDS and eventually to protect against HIV infection in humans. Foamy viruses do not cause disease in naturally as well as experimentally infected animals and therefore are deemed desirable to deliver and express antiviral genes.
The UF Research Foundation professorships were created by the foundation to recognize faculty members who have established a distinguished record of research and scholarship that is expected to lead to continuing distinction in their field.
Mergia has been a member of the UF veterinary faculty since 1993.