BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine announced today the retirement of IHV co-founder and associate director, William A. Blattner, MD effective January 31, 2016. Dr. Blattner’s pioneering work in HIV epidemiology began during his 22 year tenure at the National Cancer Institute. He has worked alongside fellow IHV co-founders and renowned AIDS researchers Robert Gallo, MD and Robert Redfield, MD since the early days of the HIV epidemic. Dr. Blattner also serves as head of the IHV Division of Epidemiology and Prevention, Professor of Medicine, and Chief of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. He led the founding of the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN), a key partner in IHV’s international outreach.
“This will be a huge loss for IHV and an even greater one for me,” said Robert C. Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Director, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, who is most widely known for his co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS and, along with his coworkers, for the development of the HIV blood test. “Bill and I go back to the 1970’s when he was a very important collaborator in the discovery of the Human T Cell Leukemia Virus (HTLV), which was the first human retrovirus and still the only known leukemia causing virus. Bill was there as a collaborator in the early 1980’s to help us demonstrate the role of HIV in the cause of AIDS, a story that continues to this day and will continue as he will serve as a special advisor to IHV.”
Dr. Blattner’s program at the Institute has screened more than 1 million Nigerians for HIV, built HIV treatment and care capacity at 139 Nigerian hospitals, and placed 183,000 on anti-retroviral therapy across Nigeria. Dr. Blattner’s scholarly achievements are reflected in his 444 research articles and book chapters which included the discovery of genes linked to familial cancer, the epidemiology and disease associations of HTLV, and studies of HIV including the first peer reviewed paper on the sensitivity of the HIV blood test. Cumulatively, Dr. Blattner and his team received $356 million in grant funding in the last 10 years.
“Bill’s legacy at IHV can be seen in the faces of thousands of lives he has saved through his programs in Nigeria,” said Dr. Redfield, Associate Director, Director of the Division of Clinical Care and Research, Professor of Medicine, Institute of Human Virology and Chief of Infectious Diseases, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “His presence at IHV will be greatly missed, but his impact on IHV and the field will continue via the many faculty, staff and students he has mentored throughout his distinguished career.”
Dr. Blattner will continue to provide counsel to IHV regarding medical research, grant and administration matters, the IHV Annual International Meeting, global programs, and the Global Virus Network, headquartered in Baltimore. His retirement celebration will be held this week during the Institute of Human Virology’s 17th Annual International Meeting.
Manhattan Charurat, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, will assume the Director role of the IHV Division of Epidemiology and Prevention.
About the Institute of Human Virology
Formed in 1996 as a partnership between the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the University System of Maryland and the University of Maryland Medical System, IHV is an institute of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is home to some of the most globally-recognized and world-renowned experts in all of virology. The IHV combines the disciplines of basic research, epidemiology and clinical research in a concerted effort to speed the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide variety of chronic and deadly viral and immune disorders - most notably, HIV the virus that causes AIDS. For more information, visit www.ihv.org and follow us on Twitter @IHVmaryland.