Biomedical researcher Robert Gallo sparks excitement for some MU faculty

Apr 17, 2014

Dr. Robert Gallo is the biomedical researcher who unearthed HIV as the cause of AIDS and was the first to identify a human retrovirus known to cause human cancer. Gallo’s discoveries don’t just stop there; his current research includes finding a prevention for the disease despite the challenges.

Credit Sara Pang / KBIA

“Of course vaccine is the ultimate prevention,” said Gallo during his seminar at MU’s Life Sciences Week on Wednesday. “Yes we have a candidate vaccine, yes it will go intro clinical trials the end of this year or early next year. I suspect it will work a bit, but there will be a problem that no one has yet solved.”

"Integration is one of the biggest difficulties in developing a successful HIV preventive vaccine," said Gallo. What he means is the ability to stop the disease from the very beginning before it develops further. If it’s not blocked within 24 to 48 hours, it will replicate. Integrating a vaccine within that time frame has never been done.

Gallo’s visit gave motivation to a group of virologists at the MU Campus. Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology Stefano Sarafianos said it was a great honor for Gallo to be able to be on campus and acknowledge the work of the virologists at MU. Sarafianos said “having such a distinguish speaker helps” as Life Sciences Week is aimed to inspire students of science.

Missouri Life Sciences Week celebrates MU’s 30th year of research in human and animal health, the environment, world food supply, and more. It began in 1985 to unite biological researchers to learn from one another as well as to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. Events such as a research poster session showing nearly 300 important research projects are presented by undergraduate, graduate and faculty researches during the week. For more information, click here.