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Hugo David Awards

The Hugo David Awards are 2 annual awards for the Best Papers of the year published by an ESM member.  It will be awarded yearly at the annual meeting.

In 2021 the ESM, in collaboration with Hugo David's family, has decided to honour this great scientist by creating a new award in his name. 

The Hugo David Award for the Best Paper of the Year is presented to the overall winner from our Paper of the Quarter awards.

The Hugo David Award winner is chosen at the end of each year and receives a prize of €1000.

Read more about Hugo David and his work below. 


- Researchers under 40 (or less than 7 years after PHD)

- An active and paid member of the society

- papers published between May of one year and April of the following year (eg. May 2023 – April 2024 )

Award Winner 2022

Role of Epistasis in Amikacin, Kanamycin, Bedaquiline, and Clofazimine Resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex

Published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

Roger Vargas, Jr., Luca Freschi, Andrea Spitaleri, Sabira Tahseen, Ivan Barilar, Stefan Niemann, Paolo Miotto, Daniela Maria Cirillo, Claudio U. Köser, Maha R. Farhat

This study features two notable findings. First, antibiotic resistance to amikacin and kanamycin caused by eis c-14t was lost repeatedly in vivo, presumably owing to the fitness cost in the absence of antibiotic selection, which, to my knowledge, had not been published for MTBC to date. Second and more importantly, Roger made an important contribution to genotypic drug susceptibility testing (gDST). Even though gDST represents the only realistic option for scaling up DST globally, discordant DST results risk undermining the trust of some clinicians in gDST. Specifically, isolates that are found to be genotypically resistant but subsequently test phenotypically susceptible are most problematic. Roger showed that the presence of some mutations can completely counteract the effect of other mutations that would ordinarily confer resistance. Such epistatic interactions have to be considered for individual patient care as well as surveillance, particularly as this phenomenon can be frequent in some settings (e.g. in Lima, Peru, the frequency of bedaquiline and clofazimine resistance would be vastly overestimated if Rv0678 were interpreted without considered the loss-of-function mutations in the associated efflux pump). Indeed, WHO has already announced that analysing the impact of epistasis would be one of the goals of the ongoing work to update to its mutation catalogue for gDST (

Award Winner 2021

Survival of hypoxia-induced dormancy is not a common feature of all strains of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex

Published in Scientific Reports

Barbara Tizzano, Tobias K. Dallenga, Christian Utpatel, Jochen Behrends, Susanne Homolka, ThomasA. Kohl & Stefan Niemann

In this publication, Barbara Tizzano, Tobias Dallenga, Christian Utpatel, and colleagues showed that clinical isolates of not every lineage belonging to the M. tuberculosis complex are able to resuscitate from prolonged periods of oxygen starvation. Previous text book knowledge was that reactivation from dormanxy under hypoxic conditions was a common feature of all strains of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. While all clinical isolates from different sub-lineages of lineage 4 (Euro-American) re-gained ability to proliferate, those belonging to lineage 1 (East African-Indian), lineage 2 (Beijing), and lineage 3 (Delhi/ Central Asian) did not reactivate upon exposure to oxygen in terms of growth, metabolism, and transcription. Transcriptome analysis showed a distinc gene expression program for H37Rb (L4) and Beijing (L2) upon oxygen starvation. These findings could provide deeper understanding in infection dynamics and epidemiology of different lineages of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex and may help to develop host-directed therapies and drugs that target the dormant state of mycobacteria.

Hugo Ayres Lopes David: 1932-2007

Hugo L. David was born in 1932 in Mozambique. He earned in 1958, his MD from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. After earning his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin, USA, in 1969, he joined the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta Georgia, USA. Under his supervision protocols for handling mycobacteria specimens, culture, identification and drug susceptibility were established and adopted by the U.S. Department of Health. His research at the CDC focused the Mycobacterium cell wall which is a formidable barrier to antibiotics, and an obstacle to genetic studies.

In 1975, he joined the Pasteur Institute of Paris as a Professor and the Director of the Tuberculosis and Mycobacteria Department. He established a Mycobacterium reference center for identification and drug susceptibility and developed a large collection of mycobacterium strains. He focused the research activity of his students on the construction of a structural and architectural model of the Mycobacterium cell wall, and on the development of the techniques and the tools necessary for the advancement of research in the fields of Mycobacterium genetics and immunology. Among the milestones achieved for the first time in these fields were the description of the Mycobacterium plasmid profile, the isolation of the Mycobacterium plasmid pAL5000 that is the basis of all Mycobacterium shuttle vectors, the identification of the kanamycin gene as a selection marker for mycobacteria, the construction of the first Mycobacterium shuttle vectors pAL12 and pAL32, the use of electroporation to transfer foreign genes into mycobacteria, the establishment of genetic libraries from Mycobacterium species and the demonstration of the expression of Mycobacterium DNA in heterologous systems. These discoveries constituted the foundation for the development of Mycobacterium molecular genetics and renewed a worldwide interest in this far lugging behind field.

Hugo nurtured the exchange of scientific knowledge through the organization of many international conferences focusing on Mycobacterium research, spending months taking part in the organization of mycobacteriology laboratories in other countries, and being one of the founders of the European Society for Mycobacteriology (ESM).

Hugo was remarkably calm in his interactions with others, and simple in his way of living. He listened to his students, motivated them, and created an atmosphere of academic freedom to foster innovation and excellence. He retired from Pasteur Institute of Paris in 1992, with over 200 publications in the field of mycobacteriology.

Hugo David
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