Harriet Robinson, PhD, chief of the Division of Microbiology and Immunology in Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center, will deliver a Great Teachers Lecture entitled "HIV/AIDS: Closer to a Vaccine" on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m. The lecture will be in Emory's Miller-Ward Alumni House at 815 Houston Mill Road. It is free and open to the public.
A pioneer in vaccine development for retroviruses, Dr. Robinson is also Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the Emory University School of Medicine and a faculty member in the Emory Vaccine Center.
She is internationally known for her discovery that purified DNA can be used as a safe, effective vaccine. Most recently, she has been the force behind the development of an AIDS vaccine, currently in clinical trials with human volunteers. This vaccine is considered to be a leading candidate for containing HIV infections and preventing progression to AIDS.
As part of Emory's Great Teachers Lecture Series, Dr. Robinson will explain why it has been so difficult to make an AIDS vaccine and recount critical turns in her collaborative effort to produce a vaccine.
As a division chief at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Dr. Robinson has worked with the Emory Vaccine Center to build programs in HIV/AIDS, herpes viruses, malaria, smallpox and anthrax.
Before joining Emory in 1997, Dr. Robinson was a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She received her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and her PhD from M.I.T. She was a National Science Foundation Fellow, a research associate at Stanford and a principal scientist at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology as well as co-director of its Cancer Center. She is a fellow of the of the American Academy of Microbiology as well as a member of its Board of Governors, a member of the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Electorate Nominating Committee, a reviewer for the Gates Grand Challenges in Global Health and a member of the National Organizing Committee of Basic Aspects of Vaccines, which is sponsored by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
Dr. Robinson was named a "Health-Care Hero" for Health-Care Innovations in the most recent awards from the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
A part of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University, the Yerkes Research Center is one of eight designated National Primate Research Centers that are funded by the National Institutes of Health. Among the center's research goals are an AIDS vaccine, a medication for the treatment of cocaine addiction and more sophisticated understanding of cognitive development. With more than 3,000 non-human primates and 2,500 rodents, Yerkes serves as a vital resource for collaborative scientists at Emory and other research institutions throughout the U.S. and the world.
Dr. Robinson and Emory University own equity in and are entitled to fees and royalties from the company, GeoVax, which has licensed and is developing products related to the research described in this lecture. In addition, Dr. Robinson is the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for GeoVax. The terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by Emory University in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.