Dr. Vernon Knight Lecture kicks off with the flu

January 1, 2011

Drs. Robert Couch and Vernon Knight
Dr. Robert B. Couch, left, and Dr. Vernon Knight

An overview of the past, present and future of influenza research was the focus of the first annual Dr. Vernon Knight Lecture that was held in December at Baylor College of Medicine .

"I am honored to have this lecture series, which will focus on infectious disease, named after me," said Knight, Distinguished Service Professor emeritus in molecular physiology and biophysics at BCM. "With all the research advancements being made at Baylor it is important to continue to educate other researchers and the community."

Dr. Robert B. Couch, Distinguished Service Professor of medicine, molecular virology and microbiology and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity Research, was the guest speaker.

Knight was on hand to honor Couch with a plaque in recognition of his participation in the inaugural lecture.

Couch's lecture reviewed past research that helped to understand how influenza can be transmitted through the air. He also discussed how treatments have improved over the years by identifying the antibodies responsible for infection, reducing the magnitude of infection and finding the correct vaccine dosage. Couch also talked about how researchers are now looking to gene expression in response to vaccines.

Knight earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School and then moved on to serve his country during World War II as a navy physician. There, he was among the first group of physicians to use penicillin. Knight went on to dedicate his career to developing new drugs to treat infectious disease. He has held many leadership titles at BCM, and this current lecture series is another way he continues to support and educate other medical professional about infectious disease research.