Two UC San Francisco faculty members – a microbiologist who studies the genesis of asthma and a surgeon who helped lift the ban on organ transplants between HIV-positive donors and recipients – are among this year’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers selected by Foreign Policy magazine.
Susan Lynch, PhD, associate professor of medicine, along with Christine C. Johnson, PhD, MPH, an epidemiologist at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, were honored for their work investigating the causes of childhood asthma. In a study published this year, they showed that the gut microbes present in some one-month-old infants predict a three-fold higher risk of developing allergic reactions by age two and asthma by age four. Their research could lead to early interventions that re-engineer the gut microbiome to prevent allergies and asthma from developing.
Peter Stock, MD, PhD, professor of surgery, was recognized for his successful efforts in lobbying the California government this year to lift a prohibition against HIV-positive individuals donating organs to HIV-positive recipients. The statewide prohibition had remained in place even after a federal prohibition, instituted in 1988, was lifted three years ago. Stock was honored alongside Dorry Segev, MD, PhD, professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University, who was instrumental in lobbying Congress to lift the federal ban.
The new donation policies could expand the donor pool by 500 to 600 people annually, according to Segev’s research. Although only HIV-positive recipients can receive infected donations, the larger donor pool will reduce waiting times for all patients needing transplants.
The eighth annual Foreign Policy special issue celebrating 100 Leading Global Thinkers is based on the theme “The Case for Optimism.” The honorees range from politicians to avant-garde artists, students to billionaire philanthropists.
“When we consider as we do each year the work of the world’s leading thinkers, we find that the vast majority of them – in science, technology, business, culture and government – are actually moving us forward and helping to solve the problems of the past,” said David Rothkopf, the magazine’s editor, in a press release.