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USF faculty adds a pioneering virologist and an international network of viral researchers

Dr. Robart Gallo, co-founder of the Global Virus Network, speaks at the University of South Florida in Tampa after the school agreed to host the network on Wednesday, June 5. Gallo will also be joining the faculty of the USF Morsani College of Medicine.
Freddie Coleman
/
USF Health
Dr. Robart Gallo, co-founder of the Global Virus Network, speaks at the University of South Florida in Tampa after the school agreed to host the network on Wednesday, June 5. Gallo will also be joining the faculty of the USF Morsani College of Medicine.

USF will host the headquarters of the Global Virus Network, and Dr. Robert Gallo will join the medical school's faculty and help develop a nationally competitive virology research program.

The University of South Florida’s recognition as a top-tier research center just ascended to another level of prestige with two prized additions to its Morsani College of Medicine.

Riding the synergy of last year’s inclusion in the Association of American Universities, USF last week sealed a deal to become the international headquarters of the Global Virus Network, an organization of prominent virologists from more than 40 countries.

But the bigger catch is the network’s co-founder, Dr. Robert Gallo, a pioneering and highly respected virologist, who will join the faculty of the medical school and lead the new USF Health Virology Center.

Gallo’s resume includes the co-discovery of HIV being the cause of AIDS.

With these additions, USF will “lead new research discoveries in the battle against infectious disease threats worldwide,” Dr. Charles J. Lockwood, dean of the medical school, expressed in a university statement.

In his role in the medical school’s Department of Internal Medicine, Gallo will help develop a nationally competitive virology research program with continued extramural funding and peer-reviewed publications, the university said.

Gallo, 87, will also serve as program leader for Infectious Agents and Oncogenesis and senior scientific adviser to the director at the Tampa General Hospital Cancer Institute. He will also be a senior scientific adviser for the USF Microbiomes Institute.

He’ll be accompanied by his team of researchers with plans to begin work in July. They will begin moving from the University of Maryland to USF's Tampa campus in the coming days.

Gallo said he is "very excited to join USF Health and TGH Cancer Institute" and looks forward t

Dr. Brett Giroir,  the Global Virus Network board exeuctive chair (right) signs an agreement to move the organization's international headquarters with USF, witnessed by Dr. Charles Lockwood, dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine (center),and Dr. Sten Vermund, president of the GVN, on June 7, 2024, in Tampa.
Freddie Coleman
/
USF Health
Dr. Brett Giroir, the Global Virus Network board exeuctive chair (right) signs an agreement to move the organization's international headquarters with USF, witnessed by Dr. Charles Lockwood, dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine (center),and Dr. Sten Vermund, president of the GVN, on June 7, 2024, in Tampa.

o “significantly contributing to USF’s commitment to becoming a leading interdisciplinary research facility.”

His work has had a profound impact on the understanding and treatment of diseases, making him a key figure in the field of virology. He is a two-time recipient of the Albert Lasker Award, a prestigious science honor recognizing groundbreaking discoveries.

He is most famous for research that uncovered HIV as the cause of AIDS and developing the HIV blood test, a critical advancement in diagnosing and controlling the spread of the virus. He also discovered the human RNA tumor virus associated with certain types of leukemias and lymphomas.

Gallo, who earned his medical degree at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, has published over 1,300 scientific papers and holds 35 honorary doctorates.

The moves were finalized June 7 after approval by the USF Board of Trustees.

USF president Rhea Law describes GVN as “a highly regarded coalition of leading experts who share the University of South Florida’s mission to find solutions for complex problems and create a healthier future.”

USF, which was named GVN’s first regional headquarters in 2021, says the new designation will enable its scientists to partner with viral experts worldwide to share ideas and research, translate research into practical applications, improve diagnostics and therapies, and develop vaccines.

The AAU 's 71 universities are selected based on research contributions, academic excellence, and overall reputation. USF was invited June 1, 2023.

Copyright 2024 Health News Florida

I’m the online producer for Health News Florida, a collaboration of public radio stations and NPR that delivers news about health care issues.