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Co-discoverer of the AIDS virus to speak at UH Hilo

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Date: Thursday, February 6, 2003
Contact: Dr. April Komenaka, (808) 974-7300

For Immediate Release

Dr. Jay Levy

Dr. Jay Levy presents a lecture on "The Social and Economic Impact of HIV/AIDS: Can Science Find the Solution?" at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo on Friday, February 21 beginning at 3 p.m. in the University Classroom Building 100. The lecture is free and open to the public and is part of the University of Hawai`i Distinguished Lecture Series.

Levy is currently an AIDS and cancer researcher and an educator at the University of California, School of Medicine at San Francisco (UCSF). He is professor in the Department of Medicine and research associate in the Cancer Research Institute. He is head of the Laboratory of Tumor and AIDS Virus Research at UCSF where he established a laboratory for the study of tumor viruses. He was also a staff associate at the National Cancer Institute where he conducted research on DNA and RNA cancer viruses.

During the last 18 years, Levy and his researchers have dedicated their efforts to the studies of AIDS. In 1983, he co-discovered the AIDS virus now called HIV. He pioneered heat treatment studies that demonstrated how to inactivate HIV in clotting factor preparations. This approach, for which he received the Murray Theilan Award from the National Hemophilia Foundation, has protected many hemophiliacs from HIV infection. He was the first to report the presence of HIV in the brain and linked it to a neurological disease. His laboratory is currently pursuing approaches to use this response in therapy. Also, he is presently conducting studies directed at the development of an AIDS vaccine.

Levy is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was given the Award of Distinction by the American Foundation for AIDS Research. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award along with an honorary degree in science from Wesleyan University. In 1998, he was chosen by the San Francisco Examiner as one of the ten most influential people in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Levy is the editor-in-chief of the highly cited journal, AIDS. He has published over 400 scientific articles and reviews, and is the author and editor of 13 books dealing with viruses and immunology. Among these are his acclaimed four volume series "The Retroviridae," and his seminal, sole-authored book, "HIV and the Pathogenesis of AIDS," now in its second edition and translated in Chinese.

Levy graduated from Wesleyan University, and was awarded Fulbright and French Government fellowships to conduct research in Paris, France. He earned his M.D. in 1965 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and was an intern and resident at the University of Pennsylvania.

The event is co-sponsored by the UH Hilo Anthropology, Biology and Nursing departments as well as the Office of the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

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