2017 President’s Innovator Award Winner

The 2017 President's Innovator Award was presented to Dr. Kevin Campbell, National Academy of Science Member and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, from the University of Iowa where he is currently the Department Head and Roy J. Carver Chair of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and the Director of the Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center.

Dr. Campbell did his undergraduate studies in the Bronx of New York at Manhattan College receiving his B.S. in Physics.  He then did both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Biophysics at the University of Rochester.  His studies continued as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto with Dr. David MacLennan. He joined the faculty at the University of Iowa where he has spent his entire career to date. 

Dr. Campbell has been the mentor of ~70 trainees including post-doctoral fellows as well as Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. students.  Together, they have pioneered our understanding of the mechanisms underlying congenital muscular dystrophy.  His team’s early work defined and established the role of the Dystophin-Glycoprotein (alpha-dystroglycan) Complex in muscle integrity.  They went on to establish the essential role of O-glycosylation on dystroglycan for the protein to function as an extracellular matrix receptor and established how defects in glycosyltransferases involved in the O-mannosylation pathway are causal for muscular dystrophy.  They have led the field in delineating the essential O-mannose glycan structure that is responsible for binding LG domain-containing proteins of the extracellular matrix and the properties of the enzymes that facilitate synthesis of this crucial, complex O-glycan.  By identifying and defining disease mechanisms that cause muscular dystrophy, they are currently working to develop therapeutic strategies for these diseases. 

The quality and impact of Dr. Campbell’s research is of the highest caliber and the respect for his work is perhaps best reflected by the fact that his publications have been cited by others over 60,000 times (generating a mind-boggling h-index of 135 and an i10-index of 423). In addition to his appointment as an HHMI investigator and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Campbell is a fellow of the American Academies of Arts and Sciences and Microbiology and a fellow of the Biophysical Society and Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Just a few of his awards include the American Academy of Neurology Decade of the Brain Award, G. Conte Prize for Basic Research, S. Mouchly Small MDA Scientific Achievement Award, the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology, and the A. Ross McIntyre Award.