Serendipitous encounters and collaboration are the hallmarks of a microbiologist’s career at SDSU | news center

After a long, award-winning career as a microbiologist and entrepreneur, being awarded a fellowship by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is more than just another feather in the cap of Professor Emeritus at San Diego State University. Stanley Malloy.

“I really appreciate this award because they not only recognized my research but also education, service to society, and service to government,” said Malloy. “It’s not just for one thing. It’s really helpful and sums up who I really am.”

When reflecting on his past accomplishments, he is quick to point out how much of his success is due to both chance encounters and having excellent collaborators.

Meeting the right person led to Malloy training dozens of Chilean scientists on how to perform advanced experimental techniques in the field of genetics.

Standing next to someone at a class conference salmonella The species responsible for typhoid fever have begun a fruitful partnership to understand how small changes in the genetic code affect the bacteria’s ability to infect a single organism or multiple hosts.

To counter the increase in germs that aren’t prevented by antibiotics and antiviral treatments, Malloy led an NIH task force, which included an AAAS fellow and an SDSU biologist. Forest Roherwhich has shifted more funding toward microbiology and the study of the microbiome.

“It’s because of the research I’ve done over the past few years,” Malloy said, “that I come to SDSU and see different kinds of problems and students and colleagues encourage me to think about things differently.”

But solving the mysteries of the genetics of microorganisms wasn’t always what Malloy envisioned for himself.

to become a scientist

When Malloy was in high school, his science teachers didn’t convince him that science was the way he could make the world a better place. After graduating early, he worked extensively in the restaurant industry, but one night decided he wanted more.

Complete the prerequisites at a community college, then transfer to the University of California, Irvine. To pay for school, he would get up at 3 a.m. every day to work a few hours at the business he started with his brother, then ride his motorcycle 40 miles to class.

It wasn’t until after a live-lab course in the spring of his senior year that Malloy rediscovered his passion for science, too late to apply for graduate programs. He and his brother sold their company, and Malloy then got a job as a technician at an electron microscopy facility where he learned how to conduct his own experiments before continuing on to obtain his Ph.D.

Expanding entrepreneurship

Early in his career as a biology professor, Malloy continued to balance his research with running biotech companies. The spectacular failure of a business venture causes Malloy and his friend to lose much of their own money, and leads to several graduate students being fired from their jobs. But she encouraged him to learn as much as possible about entrepreneurship.

Since that endeavor, he’s been more successful, in part because he’s moved to San Diego, the nation’s third-largest biotech hub. He has helped launch several profitable startups that apply biological innovations to solve problems in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. He has directed an Innovation Corps program funded by the National Science Foundation, teaching students and professors at SDSU and nationwide how to make an impact beyond the lab.

Just before retiring in August 2022 as Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation at SDSU, Malloy spoke about the importance of engaging industry and academic partners in SDSU Mission Valley to facilitate the kind of serendipitous encounters that have facilitated his most significant accomplishments.

“I’ve had an amazing career, beyond anything I could have imagined as a graduate student,” Malloy said. “And I am really proud of the students who graduated from my lab, some of whom became AAAS Fellows long before me.”

What’s next for Malloy? He’s focused on furthering SDSU’s training of clinical laboratory scientists, writing his next books, and continuing research on emerging infectious diseases in hot spots around the world, all thanks to the relationships he forged with other scientists along the way.

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