Robert C. Gallo, MD
The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Microbiology
Co-Founder & Director, Institute of Human Virology at the
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
Co-Founder of the Global Virus Network & Chair of the GVN’s Scientific Leadership Board
Since 1996, Dr. Robert C. Gallo has been Director of the Institute of Human Virology and Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is also the Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Co-Founder and Scientific Advisor of the Global Virus Network (GVN). Previously (for 30 years) he was at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, MD. While at NCI, he and his co-workers discovered interleukin-2 (Il-2) in 1976. Il-2 was one of the first cytokines (“messenger” molecules that allow cells to communicate and alter one another’s function) and proved to be a major tool not only for immunology but also for the discovery of all human retroviruses. Gallo and his colleagues then opened and pioneered the field of human retrovirology with the discovery of the first human retrovirus (HTLV-1) and along with Japanese investigators showed it was a cause of a particular form of human leukemia. A year later he and his group discovered the second known human retrovirus (HTLV-2). Dr. Gallo and his colleagues also co-independently discovered HIV, and provided the first results to show that HIV was the cause of AIDS. They also developed the life-saving HIV blood test. In 1986 he and his co-workers discovered human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6), the first new herpes virus found in more than 25 years and the cause of Roseola. In 1995 he and his colleagues discovered the first endogenous inhibitors of HIV, namely some of the beta chemokines. This discovery helped in the later discovery of the HIV co-receptor, CCR5, and opened up entire new approaches to treatment of HIV disease. Dr. Gallo has been awarded 35 honorary doctorates, is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Medicine), and is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He is also the recipient of numerous scientific honors and awards, most notably twice receiving the Lasker Award (1982, 1986). He has also received the Gairdner Foundation International Award (Canada, 1987), the Japan Prize in the field of Science and Technology (1988), the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (Germany, 1999), the Principe de Asturias Award (Spain, 2000), and the Dan David Prize (Israel, 2009), among many others. Dr. Gallo was the most cited scientist in the world 1980-1990, according to the Institute for Scientific Information, and he was ranked third in the world for scientific impact for the period 1983-2002. He has published close to 1,300 papers.
At the cutting edge of sustainable development and eco-innovation, the Faculty of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech is dedicated exclusively to agronomical sciences and biological engineering. Students can choose a specialization from among four different courses of study in the field of life sciences: environmental science and technology, forest and natural space management, agronomical science, and chemistry and bio industries. Integrated within the GIGA – University Hospital in Liège since October 1st, 2009, Gembloux Agro-Bio-Tech is a faculty on a human scale, open to the world, which has forged an international reputation thanks to the quality of its teaching and the excellence of its research over the last 150 years.
The Arsène Burny Cancer Institute (ICAB) of the CHU de Liège is the reference university medical center, open to its environment, dedicated to cancer care. Transversality, academic expertise, quality of care and direct links with research are at the heart of this ambitious achievement, which is much more than a building. The Integrated Center of Oncology (CIO) is the new ICAB building, dedicated to outpatient cancer care and high performance technical platforms such as radiotherapy with its Cyberknife, oncology imaging with its radio pharmacy, the Laboratory of Cell and Gene Therapy, the Liège University Hospital Biobank, or the laboratories grouped together within Unilab, while hospitalizations remain in the existing towers of the CHU.
Professor Glenda Gray is the first female President and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). She was the Chair of the Research Committee on COVID-19, bringing together scientific evidence and experience to the Minister of Health and the National Coronavirus Command Council. Gray spearheads the SAMRC funding broadly and for COVID-19.
In her first five-year tenure at the helm of the SAMRC, the organisation experienced five consecutive clean audits, transformed grant funding initiatives that significantly improved funding for young scientists, black African scientists and women; and established key collaborations and partnerships that will significantly progress scientific research.
Gray studied medicine and paediatrics at Wits University where she remains a Full Professor: Research in the School of Clinical Medicine. A National Research Foundation A1-rated scientist, Gray is world-renowned for her research in HIV vaccines and interventions to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV. She co-founded and led, with James McIntyre, the globally eminent Perinatal HIV Research Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. For this work, she and McIntyre received the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award in 2002.
She is co-Principal Investigator of the National Institutes of Health-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and directs the programme in Africa. Amongst many others, Gray’s accolades include the Hero of Medicine Award from the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care, and the Outstanding Africa Scientist Award from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.
Forbes named Gray one of Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women and TIME as one of the world’s 100 Most Influential people. In 2013, she was awarded South Africa’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe. Her qualifications include MBBCh (Wits), FCPaeds (SA), DSc (honoris causa Simon Fraser University), DSc (honoris causa Stellenbosch University), and LLD (honoris causa Rhodes University).
Farrokh Habibzadeh, MD
Past President, the World Association of Medical Editors, (WAME)
Editorial Consultant, The Lancet
Founder and Former Editor-in-Chief, The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, (The IJOEM)
Managing Director, R&D Headquarters, Petroleum Industry Health Organization, Shiraz, Iran
Dr. Farrokh Habibzadeh obtained his MD from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in 1990. He has been involved in biomedical journalism since 1994. During his career he has worked in various capacities; President of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME); the Editorial Consultant for The Lancet; Honorary Editor, The Lancet Middle East; and Founding Editor, The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (The IJOEM). He is a founding member of the Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME), and the Indonesian Association of Medical Editors (IndAMEd). He is currently the Managing Director, R&D Headquarters, Petroleum Industry Health Organization, an independent healthcare provider. He is contributing to several local, regional and international medical journals in various capacities. His research interests include public health, research methodology, epidemiology, biostatistics, and the applications of computer sciences in medical research.
Currently, he is working on the characteristics of classifiers, in general, and diagnostic test performance indices, in particular. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has focused his research on investigating into the probable protective effects of live attenuated vaccines, particularly, oral polio vaccine, against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
William Hall, Ph.D., M.D. is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Centre for Zoonosis Control in Hokkaido University in Japan and is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases at University College Dublin’s (UCD) School of Medicine. Professor Hall has served as a consultant to the Minister of Heath in the Republic of Ireland, providing input on a range of topics including virus pandemic preparedness and bioterrorism. Prior to his tenure at UCD, Professor Hall was Head of the Laboratory of Medical Virology, Senior Physician and Director of the Clinical Research Center at the Rockefeller University in New York. Professor Hall had previously served as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Medicine at Cornell University. Professor Hall is a co-founder of the Global Virus Network. His research interests have in the past been on Human Lymphotropic Viruses (HTLVs), but currently are on arboviruses, viral zoonosis and new pathogen discovery. Professor Hall has served as a non-executive director of ICON PLC, based in Dublin, Ireland, since February 2013, and Director of Evofem, Inc. based in San Diego since 2019 which focuses on women’s health. Professor Hall holds a B.Sc.in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Virology from Queen’s University Belfast. He received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College, New York and a Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Jaykumar Menon is an international human rights lawyer, scholar, and social innovator. He has served as a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute, a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, and as a Professor of Practice at the McGill University Institute for the Study of International Development. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, which is based at McGill University. His research, teachings and practice focus on innovative approaches to realizing basic human rights for a billion or more people
Jaykumar is a founder and the chair of the Open Source Pharma Foundation, which aims to generate affordable new medicines and vaccines in areas of great health need and to create a new open source innovation model and ecosystem for pharma discovery. OSPF is completing, with lead partner Government of India’s NIRT, Phase 2B clinical trials for an adjunct therapy for tuberculosis, at less than roughly 1% the cost and 10% the time of a conventional model. He is also a founder of The India Nutrition Initiative, which is developing salt double-fortified with iron and iodine (“DFS”), to help address iron deficiency, the world’s the most widespread form of malnutrition, iron deficiency, which afflicts 2 billion people. DFS has been included in over one billion meals, and per independent effectiveness studies has reduced iron deficiency at population scale.
Previously, Jaykumar led the international development program at the X PRIZE Foundation, an innovation group dedicated to achieving “radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.” As a human rights lawyer at the New York City-based Center for Constitutional Rights, he won a string of victories in high profile cases. His work includes representing student leaders of Tiananmen Square against the ex-Premier of China, helping win a $4 billion judgment on behalf of victims of the Bosnian genocide, freeing a man from death row in Indiana, helping represent the family of Nigerian environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa against Royal Dutch Shell, and hunting through the prisons of New York for the real killer to help free an innocent man (David Wong) serving life for murder, as the 15th lawyer to take up the case. As a scholar, he has written articles in top peer-reviewed international human rights law journals and reference books. He has also co-founded a tech company with seven-figure revenues.
Jaykumar is a winner of the William Rogers Award, the Brown Alumni Association’s highest honor, given to one graduate annually. He is also a finalist for Sweden’s Tallberg Global Leadership Prize, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Jaykumar holds a JD and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University along with a BA degree and one year of medical school at Brown. Through his creative and strategic approach, he hopes to bring about large-scale social change in the communities he works with.
Dr. Michael graduated summa cum laude from University of California, Los Angeles in 1979 with a degree in biology and from Stanford University with M.D. and Ph.D. (cancer biology) degrees in 1986. He trained in internal medicine at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital from 1986-1989.
Prior to his current position, Dr. Michael served for 29 years in the U.S. Army at WRAIR including 12 years as the Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at WRAIR and 8 months as the WRAIR Deputy Commander. Dr. Michael retired from the U.S. Army on 30 September 2018 at the rank of Colonel.
MHRP is an international HIV vaccine and remission research program that successfully integrates HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Dr. Michael guided MHRP through the completion of the RV144 HIV prime-boost vaccine clinical trial, an international collaboration that involved more than 16,000 Thai volunteers and provided the world’s first demonstration that a preventive HIV vaccine was possible. Dr. Michael entered his Army service in 1989 in WRAIR’s Department of Vaccine Research, Division of Retrovirology, and later served as the Chief of the Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Pathogenesis.
Dr. Michael serves on the U.S. Vaccine Development Group/Countermeasures Acceleration Group in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has served on President Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (2009-2016), the Vaccine Research Center Scientific Advisory Working Group (NIAID, NIH), Office of AIDS Research Advisory Committee (NIH), AIDS Research Advisory Committee (NIAID, NIH), AIDS Vaccine Research Working Group (DAIDS, NIAID and NIH), Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology Scientific Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of the Global HIV AIDS Vaccine Enterprise.
Dr. Michael’s research interests include SARS-CoV-2, HIV molecular pathogenesis and host genetics, HIV clinical research and HIV/Ebola/MERS Co-V and ZIKV vaccine development. He is a Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He serves as a peer reviewer of many scientific journals and is the author or coauthor of more than 430 scientific publications and eight textbooks. Honors include Army Commendation Medal (1992, 1996), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2013), Army Achievement Medal (1996, 2018), Army Meritorious Service Medal (2004, 2010, 2018), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2013), Legion of Merit (2018), the Hero of Military Medicine (Army) Award (2013) and Army Civ Svc Medal (2020).
Dr. Stanley A. Plotkin is Emeritus Professor of the University of Pennsylvania. Until 1991, he was Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania, Professor of Virology at the Wistar Institute and at the same time, Director of Infectious Diseases and Senior Physician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. For seven years he was Medical and Scientific Director of Sanofi Pasteur, based at Marnes-la-Coquette, outside Paris. He is now consultant to vaccine manufacturers and non-profit research organizations.
He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the French Academy of Medicine. His bibliography includes over 800 articles and he has edited several books including a textbook on vaccines. He developed the rubella vaccine now in standard use throughout the world, is codeveloper of the pentavalent rotavirus vaccine, and has worked extensively on the development and application of other vaccines including anthrax, oral polio, rabies, varicella, and cytomegalovirus.
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Senior Advisor on Public Relations, Global Virus Network.
Ms. Samaranayake is a longtime public relations and public affairs professional with an array of expertise including special counsel. She serves as Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer to the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, co-founded by world renowned scientist Dr. Robert Gallo, most widely known for his co-discovery of HIV and development of the HIV blood test. In 2011, Dr. Gallo co-founded the Global Virus Network, a Baltimore-based, global, non-profit organization, in which Ms. Samaranayake also serves as Senior Advisor on Public Relations. Ms. Samaranayake’s current positions are all-encompassing involving varying high-profile challenges including, crisis communications, media relations, public policy, and strategic development. She has a breadth of experience providing professional, high-level counsel including coordinating major campaigns, developing and implementing strategic communications plans and writing communications. Ms. Samaranayake began her career in Washington, D.C. under former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes and eventually moved into the private sector at conglomerates such as Hill + Knowlton Strategies working with notable Washington insiders providing counsel to high profile clients on sensitive issues. She returned to public service in 2008 to work with Dr. Gallo.
John Sinnott MD is the James Cullison Professor of Medicine and Chairman of Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. Dr. Sinnott is the Director of the Florida Infectious Disease Institute and the epidemiologist at Tampa General Hospital. He has served on the boards of the USF Foundation, Florida Health Science Center (Tampa General Hospital), and the Hillsborough Community College Foundation. In 1990, Dr. Sinnott developed an interagency partnership between the State of Florida Department of Health and the USF Morsani College of Medicine. This arrangement, which was one of the first in the nation, allowed a USF faculty member to serve as a health department director. In 2005, Dr. Sinnott founded the USF International Program for the College of Medicine and was appointed Associate Dean International. During his term he developed teaching and research affiliations with over 30 academic institutions. In 2006, Dr. Sinnott served on Governor Crist’s transition team as well as a Senior Advisor to the State of Florida Surgeon General, John Agwunobi, for biodefense. Dr. Sinnott has been internationally recognized by Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand for his global health efforts in 2008 and received the Dunhuang Award recognizing him as a driving force in advancing the quality practice of medicine in Gansu Province, China. In 2017, he worked with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the Lanzhou provincial government to initiate a sister city agreement between Tampa, Florida and Lanzhou, China. Most recently, Dr. Sinnott was instrumental in launching the Global Emerging Disease Institute, a novel collaboration between Tampa General Hospital and USF College of Medicine. This is the nation’s second COVID hospital and the first to offer critical care services. Dr. Sinnott brings to the Global Virology Network his extensive experience in catalyzing collaboration.