Faculty Excellence
Thomas Pistole, Ph.D.
Award Type: 
Distinguished Professor

Professor of Microbiology


Pistole cares deeply about science as well as scientists. His work looks at how the body defends itself against microbial aggression—the food-borne pathogen salmonella in particular—before antibodies develop. Pistole has toiled in this emerging field since his Ph.D. work at the University of Utah, taking a leadership role as innate immunity gained legitimacy. Early in his career, he was invited to be an associate editor of a major text in his field, Progress in Clinical and Biological Research. “As a relatively young faculty member, it was quite an honor,” he says.

His vita is crowded with publications, major research funding, editorial responsibilities, and presentations, including a symposium he convened at an American Society for Microbiology meeting that brought an overflow crowd, “even though it wasn’t that year’s hot topic,” he says. While an upper-level course on immunology remains the keystone in his teaching portfolio, the mercurial, shades-of-gray world of scientific ethics has captured his intellectual imagination for the past decade.