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Robert C. Gallo MD Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Society Visiting Professor at New Jersey Medical School, April 23, 2012

AΩA Visiting Professor Robert C. Gallo being honored: W. Clark Lambert, Robert A. Schwartz, Stanley Weiss,
Robert C. Gallo, Teresa Valentin, Patrick H. McDonough, and James Oleske (left to right)

Robert C. Gallo MD, human immunodeficiency virus-codiscoverer and acclaimed scientist, returned to New Jersey Medical School after about a quarter century to serve as Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) Visiting Professor. The legendary Prof. Gallo and his co-workers discovered interleukin-2 in 1976, which set the stage for culturing human T-cells. Accordingly, he was able to discover HHV-6, HTLV-1, and HTLV-2 and co-discover HIV (HTLV-3) as well devised the first blood test for HIV disease. He has won the vaunted Albert Lasker Prize twice, and has 30 honorary doctorates and a multitude of other awards and accolades. It was a wonderful experience for faculty, residents and students as Prof. Gallo graciously shared his experiences in two overpacked one-hour lectures, discussions with individual faculty members, and an inspirational evening talk.

Robert A. Schwartz, Dean Robert L. Johnson, Roger H. Brodkin, James Oleske, Robert C. Gallo,
Stanley Weiss and W. Clark Lambert with Margarita S. Lolis in the foreground (left to right)

Prof. Gallo lunched as guest of Dean Robert L. Johnson with him and colleagues, including Vice Dean Maria Soto-Greene and a variety of medical students, house officer members, and faculty members. Later, Prof. Gallo delivered a special lecture on the development of an AIDS vaccine followed by another one-hour presentation for the general medical school community entitled “A Journey with Blood Cells and Viruses.” Gallo lauded James M. Oleske, MD, MPH, the François-Xavier Bagnoud Endowed Chair Professor of Pediatrics at NJMS, as one of a handful of researchers in the country who made pivotal contributions to Dr. Gallo’s groundbreaking 1980s AIDS research. Gallo also recalled valuable collaborations with Stanley Weiss, MD, professor of preventive medicine and community health at NJMS. Leading the event was the professor and head of dermatology and AOA chapter councilor Robert A. Schwartz MD, MPH, who headed one of the three groups that first described AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma (KS-AIDS) in 1981. Prof. Gallo interacted with AΩA President, Teresa Valentin, who matched at Professor Gallo’s alma mater for internal medicine and AΩA Vice President Patrick H. McDonough, who matched in dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, plus AΩA junior inductee medical students Brian W. Lee and Karim Y. Helmy, AΩA residents Aaron J. Morgan and Chinmoy Bhate and Margarita S. Lolis, who delivered her first child, Evangelia Maria Stoupakis, the next day.

The Spring Induction Dinner was held at an elegant family-owned Portuguese restaurant in Newark’s renowned Ironbound Section, with approximately 150 attendees comprising inductees with families and faculty members. The chapter inducted 15 juniors, 14 new seniors, one house officer, and one faculty member. AΩA Chapter President Teresa Valentin and Vice President Patrick Henry McDonough administered the AΩA Oath. Vice Dean Maria Soto-Greene recalled the talents and abilities of incoming surgery chief resident Diego C. Reino, who she had helped recruit into our medical school. The faculty member honored with AΩA membership was S. Sultan Ahmed, a noted cardiologist whose pioneering research on the alcoholic heart and high ethics as a faculty president and leader were deservedly praised. AΩA Secretary-Treasurer W. Clark Lambert MD, PhD extolled the virtues of Roger Harrison Brodkin MD, MS with the AΩA Voluntary Faculty Recognition Award on the 50th anniversary of his joining our medical school faculty.

Chapter Councillor Robert A. Schwartz, Edmund Janniger, Camila Janniger, Caroline Gallo,
and Robert C. Gallo (left to right)

The inspiring keynote address, introduced by Stan Weiss and Robert A. Schwartz, was delivered by AΩA Visiting Professor Robert C. Gallo MD, who had himself been inducted into AΩA 50 years earlier as a medical student at the Jefferson Medical College. He enchanted the audience with inspiring stories of his early life complete with trepidation and challenges. He urged medical students to pursue a career in research, especially in virology. It was a day that faculty, residents, and students will long recall, thanks to the extraordinary graciousness and enthusiasm of legendary AΩA Visiting Professor Robert C. Gallo MD.

Robert A. Schwartz, MD, MPH
AΩA Councilor, New Jersey Medical School

Updated on May 11, 2012.