Dr. Glenda Gray, a world-leading expert who is spearheading global efforts towards an HIV vaccine, will be speaking at Simon Fraser University’s President’s Dream Colloquium on HIV/AIDS on March 11. The award-winning South African researcher—selected as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World—will be presenting on HIV vaccine development, an area she has been involved in since 2000.
“We are honoured to host Dr. Glenda Gray, a gifted and decorated researcher who is resolutely dedicated to tackling an HIV epidemic that can affect the most vulnerable and marginalized,” says Dr. Robert Hogg, SFU Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Senior Research Scientist with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE). Dr. Hogg organized the SFU President’s Colloquium Series on HIV/AIDS. “I have had the privilege of contributing to research with Dr. Gray to help uncover barriers to access to treatment and care for women living with HIV. There is no doubt that persistent stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV transcends borders.”
Dr. Gray became involved in HIV research while working as a pediatrician, after observing a high prevalence of HIV among children in South Africa. Following her success in showing HIV treatment could prevent children from being born with HIV, Dr. Gray led the first clinical trials of candidate HIV vaccines in South Africa. She now leads the HIV Vaccine Trails Network, the largest publicly funded global network to develop a preventative HIV vaccine.
“I am delighted to have Dr. Glenda Gray join us in Vancouver from South Africa to provide her insight on scientific discoveries that could lead to an HIV vaccine,” says Dr. Mark Brockman, SFU Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences and an Associate Researcher with the BC-CfE. “Sharing this knowledge is critical because research being conducted towards the discovery of an HIV vaccine is global and collaborative.”
Research towards an HIV vaccine, and an HIV cure, is also happening in Vancouver. Dr. Brockman’s laboratory at SFU—in collaboration with researchers worldwide including South Africa—is exploring immunotherapeutic strategies that could be harnessed for vaccine and cure strategies. Under the direction of Dr. Zabrina Brumme, SFU Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences and BC-CfE Laboratory Program Director, the BC-CfE is studying how HIV evolves and persists in the body.
“Neither a vaccine nor a cure for HIV is currently in sight, but many in the scientific community believe it is possible,” says Dr. Zabrina Brumme. “A potential cure will involve a collaborative approach, with scientists, clinicians, community and patients working together. Until we have an effective vaccine or a cure, Treatment as Prevention®—providing earlier access to HIV testing and immediate, universal access to sustained HIV treatment—is the key to ending AIDS.”
- Monday, March 11
- 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Room 1400, Harbour Centre, SFU’s Vancouver Campus
- 515 West Hastings Street
- Last week, it was announced to the scientific community that an individual living with HIV in London had achieved HIV remission and been off HIV treatment for 18 months. The individual, the second person to achieve sustained HIV remission, received a bone marrow transplant to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- While both instances of sustained HIV remission are important breakthroughs, researchers believe such treatments are not broadly applicable as a cure for HIV because they are complex, expensive and risky.
Dr. Gray is available for interviews prior to the lecture. For interview requests and media passes for the lecture, please contact Caroline Dobuzinskis.
ABOUT THE BRITISH COLUMBIA CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE IN HIV/AIDS
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada’s largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility—nationally and internationally recognized as an innovative world leader in combating HIV/AIDS and related diseases. The made-in-BC Treatment as Prevention® strategy (TasP® ) pioneered by the BC-CfE and supported by UNAIDS since 2011, inspired the ambitious global target for HIV treatment—known as the 90-90-90 Target—to end AIDS as a pandemic by 2030. The BC-CfE is applying TasP® to therapeutic areas beyond HIV/AIDS, including viral hepatitis and substance use disorder, to promote Targeted Disease Elimination® as a means to contribute to health care sustainability. The BC-CfE works in close collaboration with key stakeholders, including government, health authorities, health care providers, academics and the community to decrease the health burden of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and substance use disorders across Canada and around the world.
ABOUT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY:
As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 150,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.
Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.
Caroline Dobuzinskis, BC-CfE, 604-366-6540, email@example.com
Simon Fraser University