Lesly A. Temesvari, Alumni Distinguished Professor in the biological sciences department in the College of Science, received Clemson University’s 2020 Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievements in Research for her work on cell biology and eukaryotic pathogens.

An internationally recognized leader, Temesvari’s overall goal is to understand the pathogenesis of the human protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica, which causes amoebic dysentery and amoebic liver abscesses. It infects up to 50 million people annually and causes 100,000 deaths every year. Temesvari’s research uses state-of-the-art molecular, biochemical, genetic and cellular techniques that may provide insight into preventing the diseases.

“The importance of her work cannot be overstated,” wrote nominator Robert AnholdtProvost Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Biochemistry and Director of Faculty Excellence in the College of Science. “Her findings have been published in high impact journals, and they have laid the foundation for the discovery of novel targets for drug therapy of this important infectious disease.”

Lesly Temesvari

Lesly Temesvari

“It is particularly meaningful to have my research recognized by the Alumni Association, which has always been a strong supporter of faculty research and teaching,” said Temesvari. “Of course, I cannot take full credit. My laboratory’s successes were made possible by dozens of outstanding and curious graduate and undergraduate students and research associates who have performed research with me.”

“When I was young, I asked many, many questions – to the point of sometimes annoying those around me,” she said. “But, as it turns out, I’ve made a career out of asking and attempting to answer questions.  I appreciate being recognized for this endeavor.”

In addition to the success in her own research program, Temesvari made high-impact contributions to the research reputation of Clemson through funded sponsored programs awards, leadership in administration and improvements in recruitment and retention of both junior faculty and doctoral students in the biological sciences and genetics and biochemistry programs.

Temesvari is a founding member of the Eukaryotic Pathogens Innovation Center (EPIC) and serves as principal investigator on a $10.5 million Center for Biomedical Research Excellence grant from the National Institutes of Health. Under her leadership, EPIC expanded to encompass more than 100 faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students and has been a driving force to elevate the biological sciences at Clemson University to national and international recognition.