Main content
Outstanding researchers Stevens and Silvestri honored with Albert E. Levy Award
Jennifer Stafford Stevens (left) and Guido Silvestri

This year’s recipients of the Albert E. Levy Award for Excellence in Scientific Research are assistant professor Jennifer Strafford Stevens (left), recipient of the Junior Faculty Award, and renowned immunologist Guido Silvestri, recipient of the Senior Faculty Award.

Jennifer Strafford Stevens, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and co-director of the Grady Trauma Project, and Guido Silvestri, a renowned immunologist working on the cure for HIV, are the 2023 winners of the Albert E. Levy Award for Excellence in Scientific Research.

The award recognizes the contributions of Emory faculty members to the advancement of scientific knowledge. It was created by civic and academic activist Edith Levy Elsas while she was a member of the Emory University Board of Visitors in memory of her father, Albert E. Levy.

Originally overseen by Emory University's Sigma Xi, a scientific research honor society that encourages research communication across multiple scientific disciplines, the Levy Award program stopped for a period when the Emory chapter of Sigma Xi became inactive. In 2000, at the request of the benefactor, the Albert E. Levy Award was reinstated to be administered by the University Research Committee (URC).

The URC accepts annual nominations from the faculty at large in recognition of one junior and one senior faculty member considered to be outstanding in their respective fields.

Each awardee receives a trophy and an honorarium in research funds of $2,000.

Meet the 2023 award winners 

Junior Faculty Award: Jennifer Strafford Stevens

Jennifer Strafford Stevens, PhD, has been an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences since 2018. She is also codirector of the Grady Trauma Project, one of the largest research studies on civilian trauma and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in the United States, and director of the neuroimaging core for the Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation at the Atlanta Veterans' Affairs (VA) Health Care Center.

Stevens’ groundbreaking work focuses on identifying risk biomarkers for PTSD following acute traumatic events, specifically focusing on civilian trauma and women’s risk for PTSD. Using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a longitudinal design post-trauma, Stevens has identified several fMRI-based neural phenotypes (“biotypes”) that strongly predict future vulnerability or resilience to a transdiagnostic profile of PTSD-related symptoms.

Stevens’ work has been hailed as a “landmark” study and she routinely publishes her findings in high-impact journals. She’s quickly become a leader both at Emory and internationally in advancing brain-based understanding of trauma-related psychopathology.

Senior Faculty Award: Guido Silvestri

Guido Silvestri, MD, is a renowned immunologist who has worked on the cure for HIV using primate models. He is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Comparative Pathology and professor and vice chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Silvestri is an accomplished leader in HIV research with a long track record of highly cited, high-impact work. His research focuses on studies of AIDS pathogenesis, prevention and therapy, primarily using non-human primate models of SIV and SHIV infection. Silvestri's laboratory has set the stage via immunotherapeutic methods to eliminate and, thus, cure HIV.

Silvestri's accomplishments as a world-class scientist are reflected in his funding accomplishments. One of Silvestri’s proposals recently received the Martin Delaney Collaboratories Award, the flagship NIH program for multidisciplinary approaches to HIV cure research. The score on this grant was so impressive that Silvestri received the 1% Award from the School of Medicine. In his responsibilities as vice chair of pathology and laboratory medicine, Silvestri maintains substantial administrative responsibilities and hosts a weekly “Conversations on Racism Discussion Group.” 

His work and leadership promise to provide a foundation for the success of others in the medical community and beyond.

Recent News