UR School of Medicine and Dentistry Names Commencement Speaker Leading AIDS Researcher Will Address Graduates

May 11, 1999

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., a world-renowned AIDS researcher and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a component of the National Institutes of Health, will be the keynote speaker at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry commencement ceremony in May.

The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 23, at the Eastman Theatre. In addition to delivering his address, titled "Science and Medicine in the New Millennium: Tradition and Change," Fauci will accept an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the School.

The distinguished scientist has pioneered the field of human immunoregulation through basic and clinical research relating to the origin and treatment of immune-mediated diseases, and has made a number of scientific observations that serve as the basis for current comprehension of the regulation of the human immune response.

Fauci has made contributions to the understanding of how the AIDS virus destroys the body's defenses, leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections. Furthermore, he has been instrumental in developing strategies for therapy of patients with this serious disease, as well as for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection.

He also is considered the first high-ranking government official to advocate for cooperation between AIDS activists and the federal government, who were at odds with each other when the disease first hit the United States in the early 1980s. Activists who originally accused government officials, and in particular Fauci, of being slow to act on AIDS research had a change of heart when Fauci insisted that the two sides must work together to fight the disease. Eventually Fauci facilitated changes at the governmental level that included strategies allowing researchers to conduct clinical trials of new treatments while at the same time allowing sick patients to receive them.

The 58-year-old Brooklyn native received his medical degree in 1966 from Cornell University Medical College. He began at the National Institutes of Health in 1968, and has served over the last 30 years as a clinical associate in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI) at NIAID; as head of the Clinical Physiology Section, LCI; and as deputy clinical director of NIAID. In 1980, he was appointed chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation, a position he still holds. Fauci became director of NIAID in 1984.

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