USCAA News 

October 15, 2005, Washington, DC

 

World Renowned AIDS Scientist Becomes Chairman of the USCAA Scientific Advisory Committee 

Robert C. Gallo, M.D., the eminent scientist who became world famous two decades ago when he co-discovered that the HIV virus was the cause of AIDS, becomes chairman of the USCAA Scientific Advisory Committee. "This is one of the highest honors of a HIV/AIDS organization can possibly get", exclaimed Richard Zhao, President of USCAA. "We are extremely blessed by recently joining of a number of the world-level HIV/AIDS celebrities. They are the honorable justice Michael Kirby, who is the Supreme Court Justice of Australia and an active HIV/AIDS activist in the United Nations, and Professor Zeng Yi, who first discovered the AIDS virus in China". "With Dr. Gallo leads the Scientific Advisory Committee, it is almost like a dream comes true".

Dr. Gallo has spent much of his career trying to put an end to the raging HIV/AIDS epidemic. Though best known for his co-discovery of HIV, Gallo and his team in the early 80s also 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. And, in 1996, his discovery that a natural compound known as chemokines can block the HIV virus and halt the progression of AIDS was hailed by Science magazine as one of that year's most important scientific breakthroughs.

Prior to the AIDS epidemic, Gallo was the first to identify a human retrovirus and the only known human leukemia virus - HTLV - one of few known viruses shown to cause a human cancer. In 1976, he and his colleagues discovered Interleukin-2, which is a growth regulating substance now used as therapy in some cancers and sometimes AIDS. And in 1986, he and his group discovered the first new human herpes virus in more than 25 years (HHV-6), which was later shown to cause an infantile disease known as Roseola and currently is hypothesized as a strong suspect in the origin of multiple sclerosis.

Today, Dr. Gallo is the director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland. Prior to becoming director of the Institute in 1996, Gallo, 67, spent 30 years at the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute, where he was head of its Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology. A Connecticut native, his interest in science and medicine was first stirred by the loss of his 6-year-old sister to leukemia when he was just a teen. The physicians who cared for her made a lasting impression and Gallo would later make scientific research - and the opportunity to help put an end to deadly diseases - his life's work.

Lifetime achievements in Dr. Gallo's legendary career include discoveries that have led to both diagnostic and therapeutic advances in cancer, AIDS and other viral disorders and his vision has been unprecedented in the field of virology.

Gallo's research has brought him international recognition as well as election into the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He has been awarded honors for his contribution to science from countries all around the world and holds 19 honorary doctorates. Dr. Gallo was the most referenced scientist in the world in the 1980s and 1990s, during which he had the unique distinction of twice winning America's most prestigious award - the Albert Lasker Award in Medicine - in 1982 and again in 1986. Dr. Gallo is the author of more than 1,100 scientific publications and the book "Virus Hunting - AIDS, Cancer & the Human Retrovirus: A Story of Scientific Discovery."

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