About

Dr. John Ring LaMontagne

John R. LaMontagne

The LaMontagne Center for Infectious Disease is named in celebration of the life and scientific legacy of Dr. John Ring LaMontagne, who helped advance research to fight many of the world’s most devastating diseases: influenza, tuberculosis, malaria, whooping cough, swine flu, childhood diarrhea, pneumonia and AIDS. Through his work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr. LaMontagne championed science that ultimately helped millions of people. 

A true hero of public health, Dr. LaMontagne improved lives for people both in the United States and internationally. He made significant contributions to the national and international effort against emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, including biodefense-related activities. He helped organize the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria, an international effort between the US, Europe, and Africa. Dr. LaMontagne advised vaccination efforts by the World Health Organization and the vaccine research implementation programs of the Pan American Health Organization. He served as a member of the board of the Global Alliance for Tuberculosis Drug Development. The efforts listed here were but a small part of the work that John accomplished during his lifetime and the impacts of his actions will leave a lasting legacy.

Dr. LaMontagne received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in microbiology at UT Austin in 1965 and 1967 and received his Ph.D. at Tulane University. He joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1976 as its first Influenza Program Officer at the time of the swine flu crisis. He later became director of the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He was ultimately appointed Deputy Director of NIAID, a position he held until his passing in November 2004. Throughout the years, he remained close to UT Austin by working with faculty through NIAID and by serving as a loyal and generous alumnus. Dr. LaMontagne’s distinguished leadership in the field of infectious diseases earned him international recognition, numerous accolades, and widespread appreciation and admiration from colleagues and the public.

Learn more about Dr. LaMontagne's legacy here.

 

Our Mission

The mission of the John Ring LaMontagne Center for Infectious Disease is to bridge the gap between basic and translational research into microbial and viral pathogenesis. These efforts include characterizing and predicting the spread of infectious diseases through populations, and supporting programs to define the human and animal responses to challenge by infectious agents and how human genetics impact susceptibility to infection. Our primary goals are:

  • To create a center of national prominence in infectious diseases.
  • To provide networking opportunities for infectious disease research laboratories.
  • To synergize infectious disease efforts on campus and provide a focal point for outreach to the Austin medical community. With the new medical school on campus, it is essential that UT Austin establish an infectious disease-focused group to interface with clinicians and provide research and teaching support. We anticipate providing infectious disease research training to health professionals, including medical students and residents. Such ties can be mutually beneficial, and will provide our pre-medical and public health undergraduate students with venues to pursue research and career development.
  • To provide an environment where undergraduates and professional trainees develop critical research skills through participation as investigators in original projects. This will include fostering Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) Streams in infectious disease research, and application for T32 NIH training grants to support graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in infectious disease.
  • To stimulate LaMontagne Center researcher outreach to external audiences, and to provide a rational voice for interfacing with the public and the media on frequently complex issues relating to infectious disease. In this regard, we anticipate having a regular newsletter that both promotes campus research and provides insights into disease that will be of interest to the general public.
  • To provide an organizing center for translational opportunities, including providing access to animal models for testing prophylactic and therapeutic countermeasures, for developing strategies for research translation into the clinic, and for improving clinical and public health practices.
  • To foster academic interest in infectious diseases through seminars at the interface of basic and clinical research.