Founder and Chief Scientific Affairs Consultant
Dr. Kawaoka has been studying influenza viruses for more than 20 years. His work has helped to answer key questions in influenza virus research such as how influenza viruses cause disease, why certain types of influenza viruses are found in humans while other types are found only in birds and how influenza viruses change over time. In 2006, Dr. Kawaoka was awarded the prestigious Robert Koch Award for his innovative research in the field of influenza virology.
Dr. Kawaoka’s work has proven to be practical as well as innovative. Most notably he and his team established a system for the generation and manipulation of influenza viruses known as “reverse genetics”- a development which has revolutionized the field of influenza research. Scientists are now able to modify the virus at will in order to address specific questions and to develop new and improved vaccines.
Dr. Kawaoka currently maintains joint appointments and highly active influenza research programs at both the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Tokyo. Recently, his research interest has shifted to the development of improved influenza virus vaccines and anti-virals.