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The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is pleased to announce that Alan Tubbs is the 2018 recipient of the $500 D. Gordon Sharp Graduate Innovator Award. For his dissertation research, Alan conducted two distinct investigations that each substantially expanded topics under study in Ed Miao’s lab. Alan’s first project demonstrated that a high salt diet (e.g., fast food) promotes inflammatory responses by innate immune cells, with direct consequences for colitis. Alan’s second project demonstrated that caspase-7, a protease involved in programmed cell death, is critical for release of infected epithelial cells from the intestinal wall. For both projects, Alan sought out numerous collaborators to provide intellectual perspective and experimental equipment/techniques not available in the Miao lab, including mouse models of inflammatory bowel diseases, flame photometry to measure salt concentration in tissues, assays of cytoskeleton, etc. Alan did not merely gather information and resources for the benefit of his project, but also transferred ideas and approaches from the Miao lab to other labs. Finally, Alan has mentored three undergraduate students. The intellectual and technical innovation inherent in Alan’s research, and his collaborative interactions with many others, make Alan particularly well suited to receive the Sharp Award