Nobel Prize Winning Scientist Luc Montagnier to Speak at Whittier College

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dr. Luc Montagnier, 2008 Nobel Prize recipient and world renowned virologist, will give a special lecture, HIV/AIDS Research: Past and Prospects, to launch the new Center for Science, Health, and Policy at Whittier College on Thursday, March 18, at 1:30 p.m. in the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, 6760 Painter Ave., Whittier, CA 90608. Montagnier will also receive an honorary degree from Whittier: a doctorate of humane letters (L.H.D.). This lecture, sponsored by the OSATO Research Institute, is open to the public, but seating is limited and reservations are required. For more information or to reserve tickets, please call Terrie Valenzuelaat 562.907.4219.

Montagnier, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, is credited with the 1983 discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), identified as the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Inthe 20 years prior to the onset of the AIDS epidemic, Montagnier hadalso made many significant discoveries concerning the nature of viruses, as well as major contributions to the understanding of how viruses can alter the genetic information of host organisms. Additionally, as founder and director for the InstitutePasteur's viral oncology unit, his work significantly advanced cancer research. Montagnier's ongoing research focuses on the search for an AIDS vaccine or cure.

Montagnier is the co-founder of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention and co-directs the Program for International Viral Collaboration; heis also president of the Houston-based World Foundation for Medical Research and Prevention. Montagnier has received more than 20 major awards, including the Légion d'Honneur, the Lasker Award, and the King Faisal Foundation International Prize (known as the Arab Nobel Prize). In 2008, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of HIV.

The lecture is sponsored by the Japan-based OSATO Research Institute. The work of the Institute, and its president Yuki Hayashi, focuses on overall wellness and the relationship of aging and the environment to immunological processes.

This is the inaugural event for the Center for Science, Health, and Policy. The Center is designed to maximize student learning by advancing the College's deep commitment to interdisciplinary curricula, collaborative teaching, undergraduate research and internships, and the integration of student learning experiences within local, national, and international communities. A centerpiece of the project will be the Keck Undergraduate Fellows Program, which willprovide financial and mentoring support to selected students, providing funds for internships and research assistantships in the summer following their junior year, and for continuing scholarly activity during their senior year.