Simon Wain-Hobson of the Institut Pasteur in Paris will deliver a College seminar on May 26th at 6.00 pm addressing the progress and the remaining challenges in understanding and controlling HIV/AIDS, a 'modern plague' that has had a major impact on the health and society, especially in the developing world. The seminar is the third of a series of four devoted to Modern and Ancient Plagues (malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and Ebola).The poster of the seminar can be downloaded here. 

After the seminar Simon Wain-Hobson will chair an open discussion about the risks associated with (re)creating dangerous virus in the laboratory. All interested participanrts are welcome to join both the seminar and the open discussion.

Simon Wain-Hobson is Professor at the Institut Pasteur and is one of pioneers of HIV/AIDS research. After a DPhil in biophysics from the University of Oxford and post-doc at the Weizmann Institute in Israel he switched to human virology, working notably on the AIDS virus HIV, from the earliest hour. Simon Wain-Hobson and his colleagues were the first to publish its genetic map of HIV and demonstrate that the virus originated from a chimpanzee virus. They further highlighted the  genetic variation and rapid evolution of HIV. After more than 25 years work with the AIDS virus Simon Wain-Hobson discovered that humans encode a DNA mutator enzyme, APOBEC3A, which can mutate chromosomal DNA. It is now accepted that this enzyme is a human mutagen on a par with ultraviolet light and cigarette smoke. He is Professor at the Institut Pasteur and has published more than 200 papers. 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.

 Image: Electron micrograph of an HIV particle (false colours).

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