PULLMAN, Wash.–Washington State University microbiologist Louis P. Mallavia has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.
Mallavia is former chair of the WSU Department of Microbiology and is nationally recognized for his research on Coxiella burnetii, the bacterial parasite that causes Q-fever. Q-fever, a potentially serious disease that can lead to hepatitis and inflammation of the heart lining, is contracted by humans by inhaling contaminated dusts or through contact with animals, milk or wastes. More than 27 million people in the U.S. and Canada are exposed annually.
Mallavia’s work on Q-fever is focused on developing a means of rapid detection and a preventive vaccine. In 1990 he won one of “Research and Development Magazine’s” Top 100 Patents awards for developing Q-fever screening technology. His Q-fever research has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health. He also has received support from the Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research and WSU.
Author of more than 50 research articles and chapters, Mallavia is often sought as an invited speaker at conferences. He is active in Northwest and national microbiology organizations and served as president of the American Society for Rickettsiology and Rickettsial Diseases. He is co-editor of “Rickettsiology: Current Issues and Perspectives,” published by the New York Academy of Science. He delivered the WSU Distinguished Faculty address for 1991-1992.
Mallavia earned his bachelor’s degree from Idaho State University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Kansas. He came to WSU in 1966 after teaching at the University of Kansas and became chair of the Department of Microbiology in 1992. He held a NORCUS faculty appointment at Battelle Northwest in 1973 and was a visiting scientist at the Centers of Disease Control in the mid 1970s. Since 1979, he has been the director of the Microbiology Infectious Disease Facility. A recent illness has forced him to step down as department chair.
Mallavia is a member of the national scientific research honor society, Sigma Xi. He also holds memberships in the American Society for Microbiology, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the American Society for Rickettsiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Fellows of the AAM are selected for their demonstrated scientific excellence, originality and leadership, high ethical standards and scholarship, and creative achievement. They represent all of microbiology, including basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry and government service. The 1,300 academy Fellows come from 27 countries.

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