Alumni Association Awards, 2016
Gary J. Weil, MD, professor of medicine and of molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine, is known for his international contributions to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tropical diseases.
Weil focuses his research on two common tropical diseases that infect millions of people —lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, and onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness. For more than 30 years, he has crisscrossed the globe to study these diseases. His research lab has developed new diagnostic tests that are used by the World Health Organization for mapping and monitoring the impact of mass drug administration to prevent disease transmission. Weil is also testing ways to improve mass treatment programs that aim to eliminate these diseases from the world.
His work, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and involving researchers around the world, currently includes applied field research in eight countries. Closer to home, Weil’s research group has conducted important research on paragonimiasis, a serious lung disease that is carried by crayfish that live in Missouri waterways; this work has contributed to disease prevention guidelines for the Missouri Department of Health.
Weil served for 20 years as a member of the International Centers for Tropical Disease Research Network of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and he is an advisor to the World Health Organization’s programs on neglected tropical diseases. He has been a faculty scholar for Washington University’s Institute of Public Health since 2008. He serves as a faculty advisor for Washington University’s Forum for International Health and Tropical Medicine (FIHTM), a student-led group founded in 1999 that is supported partially by alumni contributions. Through FIHTM, medical students are able to travel abroad for international health rotations. Characteristic of his leadership role in academic medicine, Weil is an active member of the Infectious Diseases Division in the Department of Medicine, and he is a popular educator for students, fellows and house staff.
His colleagues note that Weil’s scholarly work truly exemplifies the power of translational research, and that Weil serves as a superb role model as he strives to eliminate parasitic diseases worldwide. The Washington University Medical Alumni Association is honored to present Dr. Weil with its Faculty Achievement Award.