The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine presented its Lifetime Achievement Award for Scientific Contributions to Dr. Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative (HAI), on November 1st. Essex received the award “for his work on animal and human retrovirus research and his leadership and great impact in the public health of Botswana.” At the same ceremony, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service was given posthumously to Dr. Bernadine Healy, the first female director of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Robert Gallo, Director of IHV and best known for his co-discovery of HIV, described Essex as “a close confidant and collaborator much before and during those early years of AIDS. His contributions to science are invaluable.”
At the evening ceremony, Dr. Phyllis Kanki, who leads HAI’s efforts in Nigeria, outlined Essex’s major scientific achievements. She described his early work in feline leukemia, his seminal discovery of the envelope proteins of HIV, up through his current research in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention in Africa.
Besides the actual award, Essex was presented with a baseball bat signed by members of the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who won the World Series after an 86-year period of failing to do so. Essex and Gallo have a long history of baseball banter.