Dr. Piot is a co-discoverer of the Ebola virus and its modes of transmission and its epidemiology. His pioneering work on HIV/AIDS in Africa revealed a major heterosexual HIV epidemic, established much of the knowledge of the clinical manifestations, natural history and epidemiology of HIV in Africa, including the first studies showing the effectiveness of HIV prevention in high risk populations. He also identified several original risk determinants for HIV transmission. His team was the first to document the association between tuberculosis (TB) and HIV in Africa, and the wide genetic diversity of HIV-1 in Africa, as well as a related immunodeficiency virus in chimpanzees.
Dr. Piot played a leading role in bringing the AIDS epidemic to the forefront of global attention, raising international commitments to its funding and building scientifically grounded responses to its control and treatment. His team’s work on the strong association of tuberculosis and HIV in Africa, followed by clinical and therapeutic studies, led to new guidelines for managing tuberculosis in Africa. His studies on the prevention of HIV infection among high risk populations were again among the first in Africa, and demonstrated that such prevention is possible.
Peter Piot MD PhD FRCP FMedSci is the Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine School, and Professor of Global Health. He was the founding Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1995 until 2008, and was an Associate Director of the Global Programme on AIDS of WHO.
A clinician and microbiologist by training, he co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire in 1976, and subsequently led research on AIDS, women’s health, and sexually transmitted infections, mostly in Africa. He has held academic positions at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, , the University of Nairobi, the University of Washington, Imperial College London, and was a Senior Fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He held the chair 2009/2010 “Knowledge against poverty” at the College de France in Paris.
He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences, and of the Royal Academy of Medicine of his native Belgium, and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal College of Physicians. He was the President of the International AIDS Society, and of the King Baudouin Foundation. In 1995 he was ennobled as a Baron by King Albert II of Belgium.
He has received numerous awards for his research and service, including the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights , the F.Calderone Medal , the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize , the Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health , and the 2015 Canada Gairdner Global Health Award . He has published over 570 scientific articles and 16 books, including his memoir “No time to lose”.
Anne Ephrussi is Head of the Developmental Biology Unit at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany; she is also Head of the EMBL International Center for Advanced Training.
She obtained her PhD in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1985, and carried out her postdoctoral studies at Harvard and at the Whitehead Institute (MIT). Combining genetics, cell biology and biochemistry, her research is focused on understanding how RNA molecules are transported, localised and translationally controlled within the cytoplasm for proper cell function and organismal development. As her main model, she uses the Drosophila oocyte, in which mRNA localisation and localised translation underlie patterning of the future embryo. She is a member of EMBO, of the Academia Europaea, and of the French Académie des Sciences.