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ֱ chosen as Global Virus Network HQ; HIV co-discoverer Dr. Robert Gallo joins faculty

The ֱ will serve as host for the international headquarters of the Global Virus Network (GVN), a distinguished organization comprised of virologists spanning in excess of 80 Centers of Excellence and Affiliates in more than 40 countries working collaboratively to advance knowledge about viral pathogens and pandemic viruses.  ֱ and GVN leaders came together today for a formal signing ceremony following yesterday’s vote of approval by the ֱ Board of Trustees.  

Robert Gallo, MD, stands at a lecturn and gives a speech with the Florida flag in the background.

Robert Gallo, MD.

In addition, highly accomplished Dr. Robert Gallo, who co-founded the GVN and is chairman of its Scientific Leadership Board, will join the faculty of the ֱ Health Morsani College of Medicine as the James P. Cullison Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.  Gallo will also develop and serve as director of the ֱ Health Virology Center. He will be joined by his team of researchers.  

"We are honored to grow our partnership with the Global Virus Network, a highly regarded coalition of leading experts who share the ֱ’s mission to find solutions for complex problems and create a healthier future,” said ֱ President Rhea Law. “We are quite pleased to welcome Dr. Robert Gallo and his team, who will help elevate ֱ’s research impact as they continue to advance our knowledge in critical medical fields.”

Three smiling men, left-right, Sten Vermund, MD, PhD, Charles Lockwood, MD, and Brett Giroir, MD, sign an agreement.

(L-R)  Sten Vermund, MD, PhD, Charles Lockwood, MD, MHCM, and Brett Giroir, MD.

Hosting the GVN international headquarters and adding Gallo will allow ֱ to enhance its impact as a new member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, grow its research enterprise – which saw a record amount of funding last year -- and further build its reputation across the world.

"I am thrilled that Dr. Gallo, who is a true pioneer in medical research and a hero in American medicine, is joining ֱ Health," said Dr. Charles J. Lockwood, executive vice president of ֱ Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. "Together with Dr. Gallo and his virology team, ֱ Health, as the international headquarters of the Global Virus Network, will lead new research discoveries in the battle against infectious disease threats worldwide."

Charles Lockwood, MD, speaks to several dozen people from a lecturn with a green signing table and Florida flag behind him.

Gallo will also serve as program leader for Infectious Agents and Oncogenesis at the Tampa General Hospital Cancer Institute; senior scientific advisor to the ֱ Microbiomes Institute; and senior scientific advisor to the Office of the Director of the TGH Cancer Institute.  In his role in the Morsani College of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine, he will also help develop a nationally competitive virology research program with continued extramural funding and peer-reviewed publications. 

Gallo is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Albert Lasker Award, winning his first in 1982 for his discovery of the first human RNA tumor virus, now known as “retroviruses,” called Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus-1 and its association with certain human leukemias and lymphomas, plus the discovery of the first cytokine, Interleukin-2. In 1986, he received the second Lasker Award for his co-discovery of HIV-1 as the cause of AIDS and the HIV blood test. Gallo was the most cited scientist in the world from 1980-1990, was ranked third in the world for scientific impact for the period 1983-2002 and published more than 1,300 scientific papers. He holds 35 honorary doctorates. 

“I am very excited to join ֱ Health and TGH Cancer Institute and to work closely with Charly Lockwood, Eduardo Sotomayor, my associates at the GVN, the team at ֱ Health Virology Center and my dear friend, Christian Brechot and the ֱ Microbiomes Institute,” Gallo said.  “I look forward to when Christian and I can join forces as co-directors and bring together the ֱ Microbiomes Institute and the ֱ Health Virology Center, significantly contributing to ֱ’s commitment to becoming a leading interdisciplinary research facility." 

A piece of white and green paper with the ֱ seal with signatures

GVN is unique because it brings leading virologists and public health experts together to leverage individual strengths and to focus global teams on key scientific problems.  

In 2021, ֱ was chosen as the first regional headquarters for GVN. This new and additional designation will enable ֱ Health scientists to partner with GVN experts worldwide to share ideas and research, to translate research into practical applications, to improve diagnostics and therapies and to develop vaccines.  

“We could not be more pleased to increase our collaboration with ֱ — already a GVN Center of Excellence — whose very mission emphasizes high-impact global research,” said Dr. Brett Giroir, GVN’s executive chair and CEO of Altesa Biosciences. “It’s what both organizations do. This is a mutually beneficial partnership that we’re delighted to forge with ֱ.”     

Sten Vermund, MD, PhD, speaks at a lecturn with a Florida flag behind him.

Sten Vermund, MD, PhD.

Gallo and an accomplished team of research scientists will move from the University of Maryland into labs at ֱ over the coming weeks. He is set to begin his work in July. 

Photos by Freddie Coleman | ֱ Health

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About Health News

ֱ Health News highlights the great work of the faculty, staff and students across the four health colleges – Morsani College of Medicine, College of Public Health, College of Nursing and Taneja College of Pharmacy – and the multispecialty physicians group. ֱ Health, an integral part of the ֱ, integrates research, education and health care to reach our shared value - making life better.