The nominating period for the 2021 University Lecturer is now open. Please consider nominating one or more of your colleagues for this honor and also bringing this invitation to the attention of others in the University community. Nomination forms for the University Lecturer should be submitted by April 15, 2021, via email to

The University Lecture was established in 1950 to honor members of the Boston University faculty engaged in outstanding research. University Lecturers represent a vast array of disciplines and research topics, yet they share a common commitment to excellence in scholarly inquiry and discovery. Presented each fall, the annual lecture provides an opportunity to highlight the work of a distinguished scholar and engage both the University community and the broader public in the vibrant intellectual life of Boston University.

Each spring, all members of the faculty are invited to make nominations for the subsequent year’s lecturer to the University Lecture Committee. The selection process for the lecture is designed to seek the input of a broad cross section of the University community—one that encourages the nomination of candidates who reflect BU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

* Boston University strives to be accessible, inclusive, and diverse in our facilities, programming, and academic offerings. Your experience in this event is important to us. ASL interpreters and Live Captioning Services will be provided.

2020 University Lecture

From Cough to COVID: How Respiratory Infections Produce Problems and Our Bodies Fight Back

Presented by Dr. Joseph P. Mizgerd,
Professor of Medicine, Microbiology, and Biochemistry; Director, BU Pulmonary Center

Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 5 pm (This year’s Lecture is a live Zoom event)

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At Boston University, Dr. Joseph P. Mizgerd is a Professor of Medicine, Microbiology, and Biochemistry in the School of Medicine, Director of the Pulmonary Center, and an Investigator of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory. He has a BA from Amherst College and a doctorate in Physiology from the Harvard School for Public Health, where he was a postdoctoral fellow and faculty member before being recruited to BU in 2008. Respiratory infection has been his scientific focus throughout his research training and career.

Professor Mizgerd and his team study pulmonary immunology and its influence on acute lower respiratory tract infections. They are illuminating the regulation and function of immune cells and signals in the lung, and how variations in these parameters determine pneumonia susceptibility and outcome. Professor Mizgerd is an Outstanding Investigator of the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and an American Thoracic Society Fellow. He has a prominent voice related to respiratory infections, serving the National Institutes of Health on lung infection-related Study Sections, Working Groups, and Boards of Scientific Counselors; the American Thoracic Society in lung infection-related courses, working groups, and committees; and the scientific community by creating a now longstanding and recurring Gordon Research Conference on the Biology of Acute Respiratory Infection.

Professor Mizgerd is dedicated to education including research training for both predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, for those pursuing or having basic (e.g., PhD) and/or clinical (e.g., MD) degrees. He is active at BU in multiple PhD programs and the combined MD/PhD program, as well as sub-specialty MD clinical fellowship programs. He has received the Robert Dawson Evans Research Mentoring Award from the Department of Medicine for his accomplishments in training scientists. As Pulmonary Center Director and Principal Investigator of a NIH-funded T32 training program, he structures a respiratory research environment for training learners with diverse backgrounds and goals together as a cohesive multidisciplinary group; trainees learn from each other as well as from their mentors and programs, accelerating growth as scientists and discoveries in lung health.

Watch the Lecture

Lecture Archive – 1950-2002