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Vol. LXI, No. 8
April 17, 2009

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Virologist Gallo To Deliver Hill Lecture, Apr. 23

  Dr. Robert C. Gallo  
  Dr. Robert C. Gallo  

Dr. Robert C. Gallo returns to NIH this month to deliver NIAID’s James C. Hill Memorial Lecture. Known for his pioneering work in the field of human retrovirology, Gallo wi ll present a lecture titled, “A Journey with T Cells and Retroviruses,” on Thursday, Apr. 23 at 2 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10.

Currently the director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine in Baltimore, Gallo began his scientific career at NIH in 1965, caring for cancer patients. During his 30-year span at NIH, he established a laboratory at NCI where he made several important discoveries including the identification of growth factor interleukin-2 and the discovery of the first human retrovirus, known as human T cell lymphotrophic virus type 1 or HTLV-1. Through his work, HTLV-1 was linked to leukemia, the first time that a cancer was shown to be the direct result of infection by a human virus.

Gallo is perhaps most widely recognized for his substantial contributions to HIV/AIDS research. In 1983, he and his colleagues co-discovered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Subsequently, his team of scientists developed an HIV blood test, which provided a key tool for identifying infected individuals as well as screening for blood donations. In 1995, Gallo and colleagues discovered the first natural inhibitors of HIV, known as chemokines. This important finding was integral to the identification of CCR5, the co-receptor for HIV.

In his lecture, Gallo will reflect on each of these discoveries, examine the challenges of finding an effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection and offer a view into the future of retrovirology research and its implications for human disease.

A widely respected researcher, Gallo has received 27 honorary doctorates from universities in the U.S. and 12 other countries. His most notable honors and awards include the Albert Lasker Prize (two-time winner), the General Motors Cancer Research Prize, the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor, the Lucy Wortham Prize from the Society for Surgical Oncology, the Armand Hammer Cancer Research Award and the Gairdner Foundation International Award for Biomedical Research. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2004 for his role in the discovery of HIV.

The NIAID-sponsored lecture is in honor of former NIAID deputy director Hill, who played a pivotal role in establishing the institute’s HIV/AIDS research program during the early years of the epidemic. A reception in the atrium outside Masur Auditorium will be held after the lecture.— NIHRecord Icon

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