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avatar for Janelle Ayres

Janelle Ayres

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Associate Professor

Janelle Ayres is an associate professor in the Nomis Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis at the Salk Institute. Her pioneering work on how bacteria interact with humans is changing our understanding of health. Ayres discovered that, in order to ensure their own survival, microbes have evolved mechanisms to promote the health of their host—suggesting that even bad bugs aren’t all bad. Understanding these cooperative defense systems could lead to radically new therapies for infectious diseases that avoid antibiotics, thus solving one of our greatest public health issues, the spread of drug-resistant pathogens. Ayres earned her PhD in microbiology and immunology at Stanford. She has received a Young Faculty Award from Darpa, and she is one of three laureates of this year’s Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists.