University of Vermont

Budd Inducted as Member of National Honor Society for Physician-Scientists

Ralph Budd, M.D., professor of medicine
Ralph Budd, M.D., professor of medicine, director of immunobiology, and director of the Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases. (Photo by Raj Chawla, UVM Medical Photography)

Ralph Budd, M.D., University of Vermont professor of medicine, director of immunobiology, and director of the Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases, was inducted in the Association of American Physicians, the national honorary society for physician-scientists. He will be formally introduced at the organization’s annual meeting in Chicago, Ill., on April 28, 2012.

A nonprofit, professional organization founded in 1885 by seven physicians, including William Osler, M.D., for “the advancement of scientific and practical medicine,” the Association of American Physicians has more than 1,300 active members and approximately 600 emeritus and honorary members from the U.S., Canada and other countries. Association members’ goals include the pursuit and advancement of medical knowledge through experimentation and discovery of basic and clinical science and their application to clinical medicine. Each year, individuals having attained excellence in achieving these goals are recognized by nomination for membership by the Council of the Association. Their election gives them the opportunity to share their scientific discoveries and contributions with their colleagues at the annual meeting.

Budd’s research focuses on infection and immunity. His many accomplishments include the identification of memory T cells and a previously unknown subset of T lymphocytes (NKT cells).  He demonstrated that γδ T cells are involved in Lyme arthritis and was the first to show that caspase activity is essential for the growth of T lymphocytes, and identified c-FLIP as a molecular switch in this signaling pathway. Budd also studies Fas regulation of T cell homeostatic proliferation and metabolic regulation of caspases in T cells.

After earning a medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, and completing a residency in internal medicine and fellowship in immunology/rheumatology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Budd served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Switzerland. He also did a postdoctoral fellowship with C. Garrison Fatham at Stanford University. In 1989, he joined the UVM College of Medicine faculty.

Prior to Budd’s induction, Burton Sobel, M.D., professor of biochemistry and medicine, held the honor of being the only UVM member of the Association of American Physicians.