|Dr. Barton Haynes of Duke was once a trainee under NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
There are only a few named lectures held on campus each year where the subtext is frank belovedness, and the annual James C. Hill Memorial Lecture is one of them. Where else are you going to find NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci showing family slides while introducing the speaker?
The ninth version of the lecture, held Apr. 14 in Lipsett Amphitheater, featured Dr. Barton Haynes of Duke University Medical Center, who once was a trainee under Fauci in Bldg. 10.
That a member of the NIAID extended family was guest speaker was only in keeping with the familial tone of the Hill lecture.
“We all loved Uncle Jim,” said Fauci. “He was keenly intelligent, highly sophisticated, self-deprecating and had an extraordinary sense of humor.” Hill was godfather to Fauci’s daughter Megan and one slide showed Hill with Fauci’s older daughter Jenny.
Hill hailed from Manila, Ark., a town of less than 3,000, Fauci said. Hill once joked that it was the kind of town where Velveeta passed for gourmet cheese in the local market.
“We still feel his loss to this day,” Fauci said.
Haynes, who spoke on “The Path to HIV Vaccine Development,” focused his remarks on so-called “elite neutralizers,” a small percentage of patients whose immune systems, although initially unable to make proper antibodies to HIV, somehow rebound within 2-4 years of infection and begin to produce neutralizing antibodies to the virus.
Haynes, who directs the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, and his colleagues are searching for “Achilles heels” where neutralizing antibodies can bind to HIV and block its function. His team has already discovered a range of characteristics of such antibodies and is exploring their structural traits.
Haynes also spoke about the RV144 vaccine that was found mildly protective in a trial conduct ed in Thailand recently. He and his colleagues are trying to discover what the “correlates of protection” were in that vaccine, with a view toward bolstering the effective elements.
He said his group has identified 18 lead candidate monoclonal antibodies that will soon enter passive protection trials in animals.
The 35-minute talk is available under Past Events at http://videocast.nih.gov/default.asp.— Rich McManus