Walker Presents Bernard Fields Lecture

Walker Presents Bernard Fields Lecture

Mar 15

On February 22, Ragon Institute Director Dr. Bruce Walker presented the Bernard Fields Lecture at the 23rd annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI).

Dr. Walker’s lecture, entitled T Cell Control of HIV: Implications for Vaccines and Cure, was given during the opening session of the CROI conference.

The prestigious Bernard Fields Lecture is presented annually by a basic research scientist who has made important and timely contributions to virology and/or viral pathogenesis.

The Lecture is named for the exemplary work of the microbiologist and virologist Dr. Bernard Fields, a recognized leader in the field of viral pathogenesis.  Dr. Fields was a Harvard Medical School (HMS) Professor and Chairman of the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at HMS and head of infectious diseases at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Albert Einstein Medical School. He was also the editor in chief of Virology.

The annual CROI conference, held this year February 22 to February 25 in Boston, brings together top basic, translational, and clinical researchers from around the world to share the latest studies, important developments, and best research methods in the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS and related infectious diseases.


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Abstract: T Cell Control of HIV: Implications for Vaccines and Cure
HIV infection results in progressive and ultimately profound immune suppression in the absence of treatment; moreover, there is no evidence that the infection is ever eradicated by host defenses.  However, the remarkable ability of some HIV infected persons to maintain viral loads below the limits of detection in the absence of antiretroviral therapy provides evidence that the immune system can achieve the upper hand in this infection.   Since the discovery of HIV-specific CD8 T cells in 1987, numerous laboratories have contributed to a convincing array of data from patients indicating that these cells are the main contributors to controlling acute and chronic HIV infection.   Massive induction of HIV-specific CD8 T cells occurs following onset of viremia in hyperacute infection, the rapidity and magnitude of which are associated with set point viral control.  However, in most persons dysfunction and dysregulation of these responses as well as immune escape rapidly ensue.  Emerging data provide insights to harnessing and maintaining the antiviral efficacy of CD8 T cells, which will be key to functional and sterilizing cure strategies.


Watch: CROI webcast of of Bernard Fields Lecture