It is truly an honor to receive the Thomas Parran Award and I wish to express my deep thanks and gratitude to the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association (ASTDA) and the Thomas Parran Award Committee for selecting me to receive this prestigious award. I would like to recognize the support of my colleagues who provided mentorship and guidance to me throughout my career. My lifelong interest in the field of STDs was essentially forged as an infectious disease fellow under the mentorship of King Holmes. I owe a lifetime of gratitude to King, as well as to many other University of Washington faculty members including Walter Stamm, Larry Corey, Hunter Handsfield, Sheila Lukehart, Jeanne Marrazzo and Connie Celum. I am also extremely thankful for the support of my colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, including Charlotte Gaydos, Ned Hook, Anne Rompalo, Jon Zenilman, Ron Gray, Maria Wawer and Emily Erbelding. There are many other colleagues that have advised, counseled, and collaborated with me to whom I owe a great deal of gratitude including Peter Piot, Julie Schachter, Max Chernesky, David Martin, Sevgi Aral, Myron Cohen, Alan Ronald and countless others. Finally, I wish to thank all of the individuals within my laboratory with whom I share this award.
This lecture is dedicated to the memory of two individuals who influenced my academic career in significant ways over the years. The first is Walter Stamm, whom I considered a close friend and colleague, and who taught me the intricacies of Chlamydia trachomatis. We collaborated on many projects and I learned from him the delicate balancing act of academia and family. I also dedicate this lecture to Merle Sande, who taught me to pursue one's interests with unbridled enthusiasm and commitment. We developed the Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in response to the depressing situation of AIDS in Africa, and with others, we built the Infectious Diseases Institute in Kampala, Uganda that is now one of the foremost HIV care and treatment facilities in East Africa. I thank them for their guidance and warm friendship.