The American Society for Clinical Investigation is pleased to recognize Wendy S. Garrett, MD, PhD, as the recipient of the inaugural ASCI/Marian W. Ropes, MD, Award, for her scientific contributions to the understanding of diseases related to perturbations in the balance between the immune system and microbiome. Vice chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) Dr. Sherita Golden presented the award to Dr. Garrett at the Food & Science Evening at the 2023 AAP/ASCI/APSA Joint Meeting. Dr. Garret received an honorarium of $10,000 and will deliver a scientific talk at the 2024 Joint Meeting.
Dr. Garrett’s work has provided insight into how gut microbes instigate and propagate inflammation, and how host and microbial factors work in concert to exacerbate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Her laboratory discovered that intestinal tuft cells orchestrate antiparasite immunity, with taste receptors playing key roles. Dr. Garrett established that oral microbes promote the development of colorectal cancer. Her work on short-chain fatty acids and regulatory T cells identified a diet-derived microbial metabolite that regulates a lymphocyte population of critical importance for human health. Dr. Garrett’s study of chronic kidney disease in patients with colon cancer spurred preclinical studies indicating that changes in dietary amino acid consumption can have a marked effect on microbial enzyme activities.
Dr. Garrett founded the Harvard Chan Microbiome in Public Health Center and co-leads a Cancer Research UK Grand Challenges Award — including more than 100 North American and European researchers — to study colon cancer and the gut microbiome. As associate director of the immunology graduate program at Harvard Medical School, she has taken on leadership roles for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging — as a mentor for women and postdoctoral fellows underrepresented in biomedical sciences.
She was nominated for this recognition by Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, who wrote, “The breadth and depth of her lab’s works is phenomenal, and she has made many fundamental contributions to the fields of microbiology and immunology of import for inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, immunity against parasitic infections, and chronic kidney disease.”
Dr. Garrett received her BS, MS, MD, and PhD from Yale University. She completed her clinical residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and fellowship at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; her research fellowship was at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). She is Irene Heinz Given Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at HSPH and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Garrett was elected to the ASCI in 2020.