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FAU Presents 2012 Nobel Laureate Lecture with Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

Pasteur Institute Virologist Shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for Discovering HIV

BOCA RATON, FL (APRIL 23, 2012) – Florida Atlantic University's Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI) of Florida will present the 2012 Nobel Laureate Lecture on Friday, April 27 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Libby and Harry Dodson Auditorium, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.  The featured speaker, Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Ph.D., shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Professor Luc Montagnier for their discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the 1980s.

Currently the director of the Unit of Regulation of Retroviral Infections at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Barré-Sinoussi will speak on "HIV, A Discovery Highlighting the Global Benefit of Translational Research." Translational research means taking scientific discoveries that arise from laboratory, clinical or population studies and turning them into clinical applications to reduce the incidence and mortality from a specific disease or condition.

Since her discovery with Montagnier of HIV three decades ago, Barré-Sinoussi has toured the world, calling for stronger efforts to find a cure for AIDS and initiating collaborations with developing countries.

"A cure will require funding commitments, strong community engagement, rigorous and innovative scientific endeavor and, above all, further collaborative multidisciplinary science with a better connection between basic and clinical research," Barré-Sinoussi wrote last year in the International Herald Tribune.

In awarding the Nobel Prize to Sinoussi and Montagnier, the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, noted that the discovery of HIV made rapid cloning of the HIV-1 genome possible, allowing identification of important details in its replication cycle and how the virus interacts with its host. It also led to development of methods to diagnose infected patients and screen blood products, which has limited the spread of the pandemic. Knowing details about how the virus reproduces also allowed development of several new antiviral drugs.

"The annual Nobel Lecture has become a signature event for our College and the University," said Gary Perry, Ph.D., dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. "The Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute faculty have affiliate appointments in the College of Science and participate in seminars and joint student training programs."

Added professor Ramaswamy Narayanan, chair of the 2012 Nobel committee in the College of Science, "Working together with a world-class institution such as VGTI of Florida will further enhance our ability to attract topnotch faculty and graduate students."

VGTI of Florida has assembled a research team of scientists from more than 20 nations who are now working at the VGTI facility in Port St. Lucie to find novel cures and treatments for devastating diseases, including the eradication of the HIV virus. The scientists have collaborations with research and clinical partners throughout the state, including FAU, as well as with organizations around the world.

"Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi's visit puts the battle against debilitating diseases in sharp focus," said Dr. Rafick Sékaly, co-director and chief scientific officer for VGTI of Florida. "She has taken on the challenge of assembling a worldwide effort to find a cure for AIDS."

Other sponsors of the 2012 Nobel Laureate Lecture include Envoy Therapeutics, Bank of America, Leuven Research & Development, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Novak Druce + Quigg LLP and the Davimos Family Endowment for Excellence in Science.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Space is limited, and reservations are required. For more information or to RSVP, email or visit


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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