The Origin, Complexity and Challenges of HIV

26th May 2015.  
Simon Wain-Hobson, Istitut Pasteur

The third seminar of the series on Modern and Ancient Plagues (malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and Ebola) will be given by Simon Wain-Hobson at 6.00 pm in the College Lecture Theatre.The poster of the seminar can be downloaded here. All interested participanrts are welcome.

Since the first reports of an unusual form of immunedeficiency in young male homosexuals in1981, HIV and IDS have risen to the status of a major diseases, Te virus is endemic in lage areas in central Africa and Asia.  It currenty infects over 30 million people and dkills 1.8 million every year. Simon Wain-Hobson will recollect the history of AIDS from the discovery of HIV to the the develeopnent of the first effective inhibitors and the current search for a vaccine.


[1] Molecular cloning of lymphadenopathy-associated virus.  Alizon M, Sonigo P, Barré-Sinoussi F, Chermann JC, Tiollais P, Montagnier L, Wain-Hobson S. Nature 312:757-60 (1984)

Simon Wain Hbson comes from a family of artists and went into science in part to do something different! He obtained his DPhil in biophysics from the University of Oxford. During a post-doc at the Weizmann Institute in Israel he met his French wife and moved to Paris where he switched to human virology, working notably on the AIDS virus HIV, from the earliest hour. Being the first to publish its genetic map his group went on to show that it evolved from a chimpanzee virus. He and his colleagues highlighted with exquisite precision the phenomenal genetic variation and rapid evolution of HIV.  After more than 25 years work with the AIDS virus his group found a remarkable connection that allowed them to move into cancer research - cancer genomes harbour tens of thousands of mutations, a number of which are due to a DNA mutator enzyme, APOBEC3A,  a human mutagen on a par with ultraviolet light and cigarette smoke. Simon Wain-Hobson is Professor at the Institut Pasteur and has published more than 200 papers.  He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, Academia Europaea, he is Director of the French papillomavirus reference laboratory. He won the André Lwoff prize in 1996 and Athena prize from the French Academy of Sciences in 2007 and is Officier de la Légion d’Honneur. He is presently Board Chair of the Foundation for Vaccine Research in Washington DC. He collects 18C English drinking glasses and publishes on the subject.

Image: Budding HIV particles from an infected cell (University of Hartford, USA).


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