USF selected as international HQ for Global Virus Network as HIV co-discoverer joins medical school faculty

The University of South Florida (USF) has been selected as the international headquarters for the Global Vision Network (GVN), an organization of virologists spanning more than 80 centers of excellence in more than 40 countries, working to advance research on viral pathogens and pandemic viruses.

Leaders from both USF and GVN hosted a formal signing ceremony, June 5, after USF’s Board of Trustees voted to approve the arrangement.

Additionally, GVN co-founder Dr. Robert Gallo is joining the USF faculty as the USF Health Virology Center Director where he will be joined by his team of researchers. He’ll also serve as the James P. Cullison Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases within the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

Gallo also serves as the chair of GVN’s Scientific Leadership Board and is acclaimed as the co-discoverer of HIV.

“We are honored to grow our partnership with the Global Virus Network, 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 President Rhea Law said. “We are quite pleased to welcome Dr. Robert Gallo, and his team, who will help elevate USF’s research impact as they continue to advance our knowledge in critical medical fields.”

The selection as GVN headquarters, along with Gallo’s addition, will help USF enhance its impact as a new member of the Association of American Universities and grow its research enterprise, efforts that will elevate USF’s reputation as a leading research institution across the globe.

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

Gallo has twice earned the prestigious Albert Lasker Award including, for the first time in 1982, for his discovery of the first human RNA tumor virus related to certain human Leukemias and lymphomas and, in 1986, for his co-discovery of HIV-1 as the cause of AIDS.

Gallo also was integral in developing the HIV blood test. He was the most cited scientist in the world, from 1980 through 1990, and was ranked third in the world for scientific impact from 1983 until 2002. He has published more than 1,300 scientific papers and has earned 35 honorary doctorates.

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

The latest news follows USF’s selection, in 2021, as the first regional headquarters for GVN.

“We could not be more pleased to increase our collaboration with USF — 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 USF.”

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