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NIH Eminent Scientist Profiles

Robert C. Gallo (1937–)

Robert Gallo, M.D., co-discovered HIV, proved that it causes AIDS, and pioneered the development of the HIV blood test for identifying infected individuals and protecting the blood supply. He has the rare honor of receiving the Lasker Award twice, first in 1982 "for his pioneering studies that led to the discovery of the first human RNA tumor virus [the old name for retroviruses] and its association with certain leukemias and lymphomas" and then again in 1986 "for determining that the retrovirus now known as HIV-1 is the cause of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)." He was the most cited scientist in the world from 1980–1990, according to the Institute for Scientific Information, and he was ranked third in the world for scientific impact for the period 1983–2002. Dr. Gallo won the Canada Gairdner Award in 1987 and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1988. After a long career at the NIH National Cancer Institute, Dr. Gallo became the founding director of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore in 1996.

The Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum has gathered the following growing list of resources concerning Dr. Gallo:

Dr. Gallo's Own Reflections
• Transcripts from NIH Office of History Oral History Project
* August 1994 (on AIDS, 1 of 3) (PDF, 461 kB)
* November 1994 (on AIDS, 2 of 3) (PDF, 324 kB)
* April 1995 (on virus cancer program) (PDF, 109 kB)
* June 1995 (on AIDS, 3 of 3) (PDF, 378 kB)
* August 2001 (on Clinical Associates Program) (PDF, 46 kB)
Transcript of interview for the Journal of Hematotherapy & Stem Cell Research, 2004
Transcript of interview for the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, 2006 (PDF, 263 kB)
Reflection on HIV/AIDs research for journal Retrovirology, 2006 (PDF, 294 kB)
20-year history of retroviruses for Immunological Reviews, 2002 (PDF, 629 kB)
History of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 in journal Oncogene, 2005 (PDF, 97 kB)
Personal reflection on human retroviruses in journal Transfusion, 2015 (PDF, 250 kB)
Discussion of a vaccine for HIV in The Lancet, 2005 (PDF, 72 kB)
Early history of HIV/AIDS in Science, 2002 (PDF, 189 kB)
Essay with Luc Montagnier about the people who worked on HIV/AIDs for the IAVI Report, 2011 (PDF, 2.42 mB)
Essay with Luc Montagnier examining the future of AIDs research in Science, 2002 (PDF, 136 kB)
History of the discovery of AIDS and its link to HIV in New England Journal of Medicine, 2003 (PDF, 119 kB)

Journal Publications
"Unsung Hero Robert C. Gallo" by Giovanni Abbadessa et al. in Science, 2009 (PDF, 496 kB)

Non-journal Publications
Tribute by Anthony Fauci in Washington Post, 2015 (PDF, 118 kB)
Profile in New York Times after the link between HIV/AIDs had support, 1993 (PDF, 1.22 mB)
Profile in Washington Post, 1987 (PDF, 942 kB)
Announcement of Lasker Award, 1982 (PDF, 737 kB)
Article on sparring about HIV discovery, 1980 (PDF, 388 kB)


photo of Robert Gallo
Robert C. Gallo