USF selected as the international headquarters of the Global Virus Network; Dr. Robert Gallo, world-renowned scientist and co-discoverer of HIV, joins USF medical school faculty

Gallo and GVN will support USF in becoming one of the world’s finest virology research facilities

TAMPA, Fla., June 05, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The University of South Florida will serve as host for the international headquarters of the Global Virus Network, a distinguished organization comprised of virologists spanning in excess of 80 Centers of Excellence and Affiliates in more than 40 countries working collaboratively to advance knowledge about, preparedness for and response to viral pathogens and pandemic viruses.  USF and GVN leaders came together today for a formal signing ceremony following yesterday’s vote of approval by the USF Board of Trustees.  

In addition, world-renowned pioneer, Dr. Robert Gallo, who co-founded the GVN in 2011 and is chairman of its Scientific Leadership Board, will join the faculty of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine as the James P. Cullison Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.  Gallo will also develop and serve as director of the USF Health Virology Center. He will be joined by his team of researchers. 

"We are honored to grow our partnership with the Global Virus Network, a highly regarded coalition of leading experts who share the University of South Florida’s mission to find solutions for complex problems and create a healthier future,” said USF President Rhea Law. “We are quite pleased to welcome Dr. Robert Gallo and his team, who will help elevate USF’s research impact as they continue to advance our knowledge in critical medical fields.”

Hosting the GVN international headquarters and adding Gallo will allow USF to enhance its impact as a new member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, grow its research enterprise – which saw a record amount of funding last year -- and further build its reputation across the world. 

"I am thrilled that Dr. Gallo, who is a true pioneer in medical research and a hero in American medicine, is joining USF Health," said Dr. Charles J. Lockwood, executive vice president of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. "Together with Dr. Gallo and his virology team, USF Health, as the international headquarters of the Global Virus Network, will lead new research discoveries in the battle against infectious disease threats worldwide."

Gallo will also serve as program leader for Infectious Agents and Oncogenesis at the Tampa General Hospital Cancer Institute; senior scientific advisor to the USF Microbiomes Institute; and senior scientific advisor to the Office of the Director of the TGH Cancer Institute.  In his role in the Morsani College of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine, he will also help develop a nationally competitive virology research program with continued extramural funding and peer-reviewed publications.

Gallo is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Albert Lasker Award, winning his first in 1982 for his discovery of the first human RNA tumor virus, now known as “retroviruses,” called Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus-1 and its association with certain human leukemias and lymphomas, plus the discovery of first cytokine, Interleukin-2. In 1986, he received the second Lasker Award for his co-discovery of HIV-1 as the cause of AIDS and the HIV blood test. Gallo was the most cited scientist in the world from 1980-1990, was ranked third in the world for scientific impact for the period 1983-2002 and published more than 1,300 scientific papers. He holds 35 honorary doctorates.

“I am very excited to join USF Health and TGH Cancer Institute and to work closely with Charly Lockwood, Eduardo Sotomayor, my associates at the GVN, the team at USF Health Virology Center and my dear friend, Christian Brechot and the USF Microbiomes Institute,” Gallo said.  “I look forward to when Christian and I can join forces as co-directors and bring together the USF Microbiomes Institute and the USF Health Virology Center, significantly contributing to USF’s commitment to becoming a leading interdisciplinary research facility."

In addition to his two Albert Lasker Awards, Gallo received many other prestigious international awards including Canada’s Gairdner Foundation International Award, The Japan Prize of Science and Technology, Germany’s Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, India’s Birla Prize, France’s Griffuel Prize, Spain’s Prince Asturias Award; Israel’s Dan David Award, the first Otto Herz Cancer Prize, and the Rabbi Shacknai Immunology Prize; Italy’s Premio International Award, International Science Prize, the Magna Graecia International Prize, and Tevere Roma International Award; China’s highest award, the VCANBIO Award for International Cooperation Life Sciences and Medicine, and the World Health Award from former Soviet Union President Gorbachev.

This new and additional designation will enable USF Health scientists to partner with GVN experts worldwide to share ideas and research, to translate research into practical applications, to develop and enhance diagnostics, therapies and to develop vaccines.

“We could not be more pleased to increase our collaboration with USF -- already a GVN Center of Excellence -- whose very mission emphasizes high-impact global research,” said Dr. Brett Giroir, GVN’s executive chair and CEO of Altesa Biosciences. “It’s what both organizations do. This is a mutually beneficial partnership that we’re delighted to forge with USF.”    

GVN is unique because it brings together preeminent scientists with expertise in all areas of virology, epidemiology, infectious disease and public health to leverage individual strengths and to focus global teams on key scientific problems.  In 2021, USF was chosen as the first regional headquarters for GVN.

“I am thrilled to see this come to fruition after several months of dedicated work by the USF Health and GVN teams," said Christian Brechot, the Morsani College of Medicine’s senior associate dean for research in global affairs and vice chair of GVN. “I eagerly anticipate continuing our outstanding collaborations with my colleagues at USF and GVN and my friend Bob Gallo. Together, we aim to significantly enhance USF's research and funding capacity and broaden our global impact, including the interplay between virology, oncology and the microbiomes.”

Added Dr. Sten Vermund, GVN’s president and Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health and Dean Emeritus of the Yale School of Public Health, “This partnership between the GVN and USF, begun originally by USF Professor Christian Bréchot, will elevate our collective efforts to address viral threats. GVN and USF are perfectly positioned to collaborate on new educational and training opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders in virology. In collaboration with USF, the GVN will also enhance global viral research capacity and pandemic preparedness within our six-continent network.”  

Gallo and an accomplished team of research scientists will move from the University of Maryland into labs at USF over the coming weeks. He is set to begin his work in July.


About the University of South Florida

The University of South Florida, a high-impact research university dedicated to student success and committed to community engagement, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. With campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF serves approximately 50,000 students who represent nearly 150 different countries. U.S. News & World Report has ranked USF as one of the nation’s top 50 public universities for five consecutive years, and this year USF earned its highest ranking ever among all universities public or private. In 2023, USF became the first public university in Florida in nearly 40 years to be invited to join the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of the leading universities in the United States and Canada. Through hundreds of millions of dollars in research activity each year and as one of the top universities in the world for securing new patents, USF is a leader in solving global problems and improving lives. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)

The GVN is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense, and first research response to emerging, existing, and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health. Working in close coordination with established national and international institutions, the GVN is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 80+ Centers of Excellence and  Affiliates in 40+ countries, working collaboratively to train the next generation, advance knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as develop drugs, vaccines, and treatments to combat them. No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas other than the GVN, which brings together the finest medical virologists to leverage their individual expertise and coalesce global teams of specialists on the scientific challenges, issues, and problems posed by pandemic viruses. The GVN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit


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