Dr. Zachary Klase Presented With Faculty Merit Award at USciences’ Founders’ Day

By Jenna Pizzi

Published on March 1, 2019

Zachary KlaseUSciences presented the 2019 Faculty Award of Merit to Zachary Klase, PhD, during its Founders’ Day ceremony on Feb. 14, 2019. The award honors an outstanding faculty member who “exemplifies the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of USciences’ founders, and who has engaged in research or some form of scholarly pursuit that results in the development or discovery of something new.”

An assistant professor of biological sciences, Dr. Klase cultivated a highly successful research program focused on HIV and Zika Virus and has been an outstanding teacher for both undergraduate and graduate students. Having joined the faculty in 2014, Dr. Klase has secured $2.8 million dollars in external funding to support his research, including the single largest research award ever granted to a USciences faculty researcher.

“It is especially notable to me that Dr. Klase was nominated for this award by the entire faculty, staff, and graduate student community in the Department of Biological Sciences,” said  USciences Provost Peter Miller, PhD.

Dr. Klase’s scholarly work is in the area of the pathogenesis of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1).  His laboratory focuses on the uses of molecular biology and immunology approaches to understanding the mechanisms through which this virus makes humans sick. Currently, his work focuses on three aspects of HIV-1 biology: persistence of the infection in the face of therapy, the involvement of microRNA in neuropathogenesis, and the effect of substance abuse on these two problems.

Zachary Klase“I am amazed that so many of my friends and colleagues thought of me for this award and I’m thankful for their support as it makes what I do possible,” said Dr. Klase.

Among his teaching innovations, has been the development of a novel method of teaching graduate students about the Zika virus, in which students learned to apply their knowledge about replication and pathogenesis of the Zika virus, predicted public health and research needs in response to this emerging infectious threat, presented their learning to undergraduate students, and worked with a pharmaceutical company that is developing a Zika drug application to the FDA.

Dr. Klase received his bachelor’s degree from Cook College at Rutgers University before going on to obtain his PhD from The George Washington University Medical Center. Having grown up in Flemington, NJ, Dr. Klase currently lives in Sewell, NJ, with his wife and two daughters.

Each year, Founders’ Day at USciences recognizes its establishment on Feb. 23, 1821, as Philadelphia College of Pharmacy—the first college of pharmacy in North America, which is now a part of USciences. In 2019, the University bestowed an honorary doctor of science degree to Sandra Mesics, director of St. Luke’s School of Nursing; presented merit awards to current undergraduate and graduate students, and staff and faculty members; and recognized endowed positions.

Categories: News, Faculty, Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, Biology, Awards and Honors, Event