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Director of Galveston National Laboratory is founding member of new world virus group

By UTMB Public Affairs — Published March 9, 2011

GALVESTON, Texas — James LeDuc, director of the Galveston National Laboratory, joined the world's top virologists in establishing a new consortium dedicated to identifying and combating new and existing viral threats.

LeDuc, who also is a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch, along with representatives from more than a dozen countries, met recently in Washington, D.C. to form the Global Virus Network. The group will be a global clearinghouse for information regarding some of the world's most dangerous viruses.

LeDuc said that the new virus network "offers an excellent opportunity for scientists here at UTMB, and especially those in the Galveston National Laboratory, to collaborate with virologists from around the world to address some of the most serious diseases threatening humankind."

LeDuc continued: "We are especially pleased to be part of this historic initiative and we look forward to working with our international partners in the conduct of essential research and development, and in training of the next generation of medical virologists."

The network was the brainchild of Dr. Robert C. Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and who is widely known for his discovery of the first human retroviruses (including one that causes a specific kind of leukemia), co-discovery of HIV and the development of the HIV blood test.

Among the group's goals are to build a network of world experts to help combat viral threats and to build international alliances to conduct research in a more comprehensive manner.

ABOUT UTMB: Established in 1891, Texas' first academic health center comprises four health sciences schools, three institutes for advanced study, a research enterprise that includes one of only two national laboratories dedicated to the safe study of infectious threats to human health, and a health system offering a full range of primary and specialized medical services throughout Galveston County and the Texas Gulf Coast region. UTMB is a component of the University of Texas System.

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