Jay Levy honored with 2004 Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology

04/30/04

WASHINGTON, DC--APRIL 23, 2004--Jay A. Levy, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Director of the Laboratory for Tumor and AIDS Virus Research at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, will receive the 2004 Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology. Supported by Abbott Laboratories Diagnostic Division since 1992, the award from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) recognizes Levy's extraordinary contributions in the field of viral immunity, including his independent discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and his explication of cellular immune responses to HIV. He will present the Division V Lecture at the ASM General Meeting, "Innate Immunity: Its Importance in Preventing HIV Infection and Disease."

His findings have had far-reaching effects on several fields, including immunology, microbiology, and biomedical sciences. In 1970, Levy discovered the existence of xenotropic retroviruses, which are viruses that infect cells of heterologous species, not the animal species from which the virus was isolated. This finding confirmed the germ line transmission of viruses and led to a greater appreciation of the wide range of cellular hosts that could be infected by retroviruses. He and his group showed that HIV can become more virulent over time and can infect the brain, bowel, and several other tissues besides the immune system. Another early result of Levy's pioneering research was his development of a heat inactivation treatment that removed HIV from blood products and made receipt of clotting factors safe for hemophiliacs.

Levy went on to discover a novel noncytotoxic antiviral response in CD8+ cells, where immune cells suppress HIV without killing the infected cell. This immune response has since been observed with other viruses and in a range of animal species. Levy's group was also among the first to identify the role played in HIV infection by plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDCs). Large numbers of PDCs, which are part of the immune system and key producers of type 1 interferons, have been found in long-term survivors of HIV infection. Levy has recently shown that the interaction of CD8+ cells with PDCs or interferon restores antiviral responses.

After graduating with high honors from Wesleyan University, Levy received Fulbright and French Government fellowships to conduct research at the Université de Paris in France. He earned his medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, New York, New York, and he completed his internship and residency at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. The recipient of many honors and awards, he holds an honorary D.Sc. degree from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. He is a Fellow of both the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology will be presented at the 104th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), May 23–27, 2004, in New Orleans, Louisiana. ASM is the largest single life science society, composed of over 42,000 scientists, teachers, physicians, and health professionals. Its mission is to promote research and training in the microbiological sciences and to assist communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public to improve health, economic well-being, and the environment.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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