Two Faculty Members Transfer to Emeritus Status

Department Announcement
Posted on August 10, 2021

Thomas Shenk (left) and Lynn Enquist (right) are among 15 Princeton faculty members transferring to Emeritus status. Enquist's status changed in January of this year, and Shenk's status change is effective September 1 of this year.

Lynn Enquist, a leading virologist, came to Princeton in 1993 after nine years as a staff fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and 12 years in the biotech industry. While at the NIH, Enquist used his knowledge of the bacteriophage λ to construct cloning vectors that could not replicate outside of the laboratory and developed procedures for packing these vectors back into the phage head, allowing efficient transfer of recombinant DNA into cells. He also constructed the world’s first reported viral genome clones, providing a means to study the complex genome arrangements of herpesviruses.

After joining the Princeton faculty in 1993, Enquist designed and taught the course “Viruses: Strategy and Tactics” for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students. As the chair of the Department of Molecular Biology, he upgraded the department’s facilities and revamped undergraduate and graduate curricula. He also helped facilitate the growth of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and the establishment of a neuroscience curriculum and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. He mentored over 100 trainees and received the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2001.

Enquist is the co-author of a methods book “Experiments with Gene Fusions” and a popular textbook that was published by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM). He served on and chaired the major virology study section at the NIH, served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Virology for a decade, and was the founding editor-in-chief of the Annual Reviews of Virology. He also served as the president of both the American Society for Virology and ASM. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and is a fellow of the AAAS and the American Academy of Microbiology.

Enquist received his bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University and his Ph.D. from the Medical College of Virginia.

Thomas Shenk is a distinguished virologist noted for innovative research and leadership in his field. He was a founding member of Princeton’s Department of Molecular Biology, which he chaired from 1996-2004, and a founding member of the Program in Global Health and Health Policy.

Shenk received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit and his Ph.D. from Rutgers University, where he began his career-long fascination with the interactions of mammalian viruses with their host cells. He later expanded his research focus to include human adenovirus 5 (Ad5) and made many important contributions to both of these areas, which were recognized by the Eli Lilly Award in Microbiology and Immunology.

Throughout his career, Shenk maintained an enduring commitment to translational research, or the application of basic knowledge and techniques to address medical needs. He has been issued 16 patents in the U.S. and E.U. and served on the advisory boards of several pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He is also a founder of two companies, one dedicated to the discovery of broadly acting anti-viral drugs and the second focused on development of personalized treatments for cancer.

His professional service includes serving as president of the American Society for Microbiology from 2003-4 and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Virology from 1994-2002. He also served as president of the American Society for Virology from 1997-8 and as a member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity from 2005-8.

Shenk is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Inventors, and was appointed as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.