Holly Sellers, a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is UGA’s 2019 Inventor of the Year and the first woman to receive the designation since 2001.
A researcher at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center (PDRC), Sellers’ research has led to 12 invention disclosures and five U.S. patents, with another application pending and a multitude of foreign patents and applications. Her technologies have been made available to industry partners through more than 20 license agreements, leading to four commercial poultry vaccines as well as numerous autogenous vaccines that together support and secure Georgia’s $22.9 billion poultry industry.
Inventor of the Year research award winner Holly Sellers inside her laboratory. (Photo by Peter Frey)
“The poultry industry has been part of my life for as long as I can remember—I knew early on that I wanted to pursue a career in science that supported this great industry,” Sellers said. “The opportunities at UGA have allowed me to do research on issues that are important to the industry. The diagnostic support provided by PDRC provides the industry with science-based information so it can make informed decisions about the health of its flocks. In the end, we support the industry’s goals of securing a safe, sustainable and quality source of food to feed the world.”
Sellers pursues clinical and molecular virology research with an emphasis on viruses that cause respiratory, enteric and musculoskeletal diseases in poultry, focusing on the identification, characterization and control of those viruses. In addition, she directs virology services at the PDRC and mentors graduate and professional students. Sellers received both her master’s and Ph.D. in medical microbiology from the College of Veterinary Medicine and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stephen F. Austin University.
“Dr. Seller’s accomplishments have truly been remarkable. As head of virology diagnostics at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, she works closely with the poultry industry to improve the health and well-being of poultry across the state and the country,” said Mark Jackwood, the J.R. Glisson Professor of Avian Medicine and head of the department of population health and PDRC. “Her tireless efforts have led to rapid diagnostic tests and innovative vaccines saving the industry millions of dollars year after year. We are very proud of her outstanding achievements.”
UGA’s Inventor of the Year award recognizes an inventor for a unique and innovative discovery that has made an impact on the community. Sellers received her award at UGA’s 40th annual Research Awards banquet on April 4.