The American Pediatric Society names Dr. John V. Williams as the recipient of the 2020 Norman J. Siegel Outstanding Science Award

John V. Williams, M.D. – Division Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

HOUSTON, Dec. 4, 2019 – The American Pediatric Society (APS) is pleased to announce John V. Williams, MD, as the recipient of the 2020 Norman J. Siegel Outstanding Science Award for his considerable contributions to pediatric science. The award will be presented to Dr. Williams on May 3 during the APS Presidential Plenary at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2020 Meeting in Philadelphia.

Dr. Williams is the Division Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Henry L. Hillman professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Director of the Institute for Infection, Inflammation, and Immunity in Children (i4Kids). He is an international leader in the field of respiratory virus biology, particularly human metapneumovirus (HMPV), and a recognized researcher and contributor to leading scientific journals.

“The American Pediatric Society is thrilled to recognize Dr. Williams with the 2020 Norman J. Siegel Outstanding Science Award for his leading research in pediatric infectious diseases and significant contributions to the field of pediatrics,” said APS President Robin Steinhorn, MD. “As a newly elected member of the society, we are honored to count him among our distinguished child health leaders.”

The award was created in honor of one of the world’s leading nephrologists, Norman J. Siegel, MD, FASN. Dr. Siegel was an outstanding teacher and mentor, nurturing the early careers of numerous fellows and residents. Not only was he a leader within the medical community, but he also educated parents of those children he treated and left a lasting impression on their families.

The focus of Dr. Williams’ research is the basic and clinical investigation of respiratory viruses. Respiratory infections are the leading cause of death in children less than five years old worldwide. HMPV is a pneumovirus discovered in 2001 that is a leading cause of acute lower respiratory illness in infants and children worldwide. HMPV causes severe and fatal disease in high-risk individuals, including premature infants, transplant recipients, older adults, and persons with chronic cardiopulmonary disease. Dr. Williams has published molecular epidemiology studies establishing the importance of HMPV. His group discovered that HMPV uses integrins as receptors to enter cells through endocytosis, identified the HMPV fusion protein as the key protective antigen, and developed candidate vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. His team discovered that HMPV and other respiratory viruses induce lung CD8+ T cell impairment via the PD-1 signaling pathway previously associated with chronic infections and cancer.

Prior to joining UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Dr. Williams was an associate professor of pediatrics, pathology, microbiology, and immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Williams is a graduate of the University of Virginia and completed medical school at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University.

For more information about Dr. Williams and the Norman J. Siegel Outstanding Science Award, please visit the APS website.


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Media Contact:
Lisa Thompson
Association Director
American Pediatric Society