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Hunstad appointed vice chair of basic and translational research

David Hunstad, MD, the Arnold W. Strauss, MD, Endowed Professor for Mentoring, Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Microbiology, and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Washington University Department of Pediatrics has been appointed the vice chair of basic and translational research. In this role, Hunstad will work with the administrative team to oversee departmental research operations, including space, shared equipment, regulatory compliance and strategic planning. He will continue to coordinate and support research training grants, recruitment of new research-intensive faculty and career development of early-stage investigators across the department. In his continuing role as scientific director of the Children’s Discovery Institute (CDI), he will engage in external recruitment of center directors, ensure the functioning of the CDI Centers and the Discovery Core and participate in CDI/SLCH Foundation social and fundraising events.

Hunstad received his BA from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, before coming to WashU Med as a medical student with the support of a Distinguished Alumni Scholarship. He completed his pediatric residency and served as chief resident at St. Louis Children’s Hospital before entering pediatric infectious diseases fellowship. His postdoctoral training in the lab of Scott Hultgren, PhD, was supported by the Pediatric Scientist Development Program from 2001-2004. Hunstad has been a member of the faculty since 2003.

His research laboratory — funded by NIDDK and NIAID — studies the molecular interactions between pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria and their hosts with particular focus on urinary tract infections. He has trained eight graduate students and nine postdoctoral fellows while publishing over 80 papers and earning five distinct NIH R01 grants. His mentoring and leadership activities include roles as pediatric co-director of the Oliver Langenberg Physician-Scientist Training Program at WashU Med, training director for the Child Health Research Center (NICHD K12) and Physician-Scientist T32 training grant in the Department of Pediatrics, and PI of an NIAID T32 in pediatric infectious diseases and immunology.

Nationally, Hunstad served from 2018-2022 as strategy and operations officer for the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR) and as an inaugural member of the Board of Directors of the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting. He is also a member of the American Pediatric Society (APS) and co-leads the national APS-SPR Journeys mentoring program for early-stage pediatrician-scientists. In recognition of these and other activities, he received the Thomas Hazinski Distinguished Service Award from SPR in 2023. He has served on numerous NIH study sections and is currently a standing member of the Kidney and Urological Function and Dysfunction (KUFD) study section. He is a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.