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The Making of Medicine

Bill Petri: Virginia Outstanding Scientist

Bill Petri, MD, PhD, has earned a well-deserved recognition from Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The governor and the Science Museum of Virginia have named Dr. Petri one of Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists for 2017. That’s quite an honor.

The chief of our Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, Dr. Petri conducts pioneering research into gastrointestinal (gut) infections and their consequences in children in the developing world. His work has shed light on how disease and undernutrition contribute to a cycle of growth stunting and poverty that affects millions of children around the world. Through his research, he is helping to find ways to break that cycle.

Dr. Petri’s lab here at UVA focuses on molecular parasites and potentially deadly C. difficile infection, among other things. But his work isn’t just at the bench. You’ll often find him in the field — such as the slums of Bangladesh — studying infant vaccines and undernutrition first-hand. When his award was announced, he wasn’t available to talk to reporters because he was out of the country.

“It’s a wonderful honor and, really, I feel it’s a product of being at Virginia,” Petri told me of the award. “I’ve been at the University of Virginia since I was a student. So everything I’ve accomplished is a reflection of the scientific environment at UVA.”

I’m sure that’s true, but, at the same time, Dr. Petri and his work reflect wonderfully on UVA.

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