UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Peter Hudson, Verne M. Willaman Professor of Biology and director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State, has been selected to receive the Honorary Alumni Award from the Penn State Alumni Association. The association has given the Honorary Alumni Award since 1973 to recognize individuals who, while not graduates of Penn State, have greatly enhanced the University through their commitment and service. The award will be presented to Hudson and three other winners during a ceremony on June 1.
“I am thrilled with this honor, and it makes me feel a real part of the wonderful Penn State family,” said Hudson. “It is such an honor working at Penn State, where we have a great team spirit and work together to build excellence and to take this University to the next level.”
Over the past decade, Hudson has worked to make Penn State a leader in the study of infectious disease, genomics, metabolomics, and plant biology. As director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, he helps build research teams that examine pressing issues of the day across the life sciences. He initiated interdisciplinary cluster hires in infectious-disease biology and genomics, which brought many new faculty members to Penn State. He was integral in realizing the Life Science wing of Penn State's Millennium Science Complex, which brought new cutting-edge instrumentation for imaging and immunology to the University.
“This award is really a team award to my wonderful people in Team Huck,” said Hudson. “Special thanks to every one of them and of course to my favorite alumni, the late Lloyd and Dottie Huck, for their trust in our endeavors.”
In 2003, Hudson established the Penn State Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics (CIDD), an internationally recognized interdisciplinary center that is considered to be a global leader in solving infectious disease problems. His personal research combines fieldwork, laboratory studies, and mathematical modeling to explore the ecology of wildlife diseases. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, three books, three edited volumes, and 50 popular science articles. Broadly, Hudson studies how parasites and pathogens spread through animal populations and the consequences of infection. His work includes not only on the diseases that affect wildlife, but also the processes of how infections pass from wildlife to other animals, including humans.
Hudson also is an adjunct faculty member at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology in Tanzania, where he is helping to train graduate students and establish a research group for studying pressing infectious disease issues. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society, an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an elected Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and he holds an honorary degree from the University of London. During the bovine-tuberculosis scare and the start of the foot-and-mouth epidemic in the 2001, Hudson served as a scientific adviser to the Prince of Wales and to The House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture.
Among Hudson's research honors are a 2005 Carlton Herman Award from the U.S. Wildlife Disease Association and a 1985 Laurent Perrier Award for Game Conservation. In 2002, he was named an honorary member of the British Falconers Club in recognition of his research on grouse and their natural enemies. In 1992, his book, "Grouse in Space and Time," was listed as "Environmental Book of the Year" by The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom.
Prior to joining the Penn State faculty in July 2002, Hudson was at the University of Stirling in Scotland, where he held a Personal Chair in Wildlife Diseases from 1998 to 2002 and was a reader in wildlife epidemiology from 1995 to 1998. From 1979 to 1995, Hudson worked in the Highlands of Scotland as a research fellow and was in charge of research for the Upland Research Group with the Game Conservancy Trust.
In 1979, Hudson earned a doctoral degree in zoology at the University of Oxford, where he studied the population dynamics of seabirds. He earned a bachelor's degree with honors in zoology at the University of Leeds in 1974.