HIV/AIDS expert Robert Gallo, M.D., to speak at UNMC

by Tom O'Connor, UNMC public relations | November 11, 2015

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Robet Gallo, M.D., in 2009
Robert Gallo, M.D., the scientist who in 1984 co-discovered that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was the responsible infectious agent for AIDS, will deliver the Carol Swarts, M.D., Distinguished Lecture on Nov. 18 from noon to 1:15 p.m. in UNMC's Durham Research Center Auditorium.

"We are honored to have Dr. Gallo on our campus and to hear his wisdom on the future of this broad field with an understanding of the journey," said Howard Gendelman, M.D., professor and chair of the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience. "He is truly one of the most recognized scientists in the country."

Faculty, staff and students are invited to hear Dr. Gallo's presentation, "Viruses and Epidemics with Emphasis on HIV/AIDS: Perspectives from the Past -- Challenges for the Future." Lunch will be provided to the first 150 attendees.

Dr. Gallo is a professor in the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Now, 31 years since his breakthrough with HIV/AIDS, Dr. Gallo's research team is beginning human trials this month on a potentially revolutionary HIV vaccine.

The IHV was co-founded and is directed by Dr. Gallo, who became world famous with his HIV/AIDS discovery. Little was known then of the mysterious disease that was fast becoming the deadliest in medical history. Since then, Dr. Gallo has spent much of his career trying to put an end to this raging epidemic and other viral, chronic illnesses.

Though best known for his co-discovery of HIV, Dr. Gallo and his team pioneered the development of the HIV blood test, which enabled health care workers for the first time to screen for the AIDS virus, leading to a more rapid diagnosis while simultaneously protecting patients receiving blood transfusions. His research also helped physicians develop HIV therapies to prolong the lives of those infected with the virus.

Prior to the AIDS epidemic, Dr. Gallo was the first to identify a human retrovirus and the only known human leukemia virus (HTLV), one of the few known viruses shown to cause a human cancer.

Dr. Gallo has published more than 1,300 papers and was ranked third in the world for scientific impact during the period of 1983-2002. In 1982 and 1986, he received the prestigious Lasker Award for his outstanding scientific discoveries.