In an extraordinary moment, world-renowned virologist Robert Gallo, MD, one of Thursday’s International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) 2016 scheduled plenary speakers addressed the over 800 attendees in Rotterdam by video recording from a hospital in the United States where he Is being treated for an infection. Dr. Gallo was originally scheduled to participate on site with another world-class virologist, Leonid Margolis, PhD, in the ISEV’s second plenary session “Learning from the Best: Viruses and EVs.” Also speaking at this plenary was Shilpa Buch, PhD, Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Gallo’s scientific accomplishments are legendary and legion. He led critical work to identify HIV as the cause of AIDS and also to develop a simple blood test for the virus that was an absolutely critical advance in the fight against this dread disease. In the period 1980-1990, Dr. Gallo was the most cited scientist in the world. He is one of a select few scientists ever to be recognized with two Lasker awards. The fact that a scientist of such immense accomplishment chose to speak to the ISEV 2016 meeting attendees is a profound indication of how significant work on EVs has become. In fact, early in his remarks Dr. Gallo described EVs as an “exciting new field” and “another way of communication that may have impact all through medicine.” Dr. Gallo very briefly outlined some of his seminal work with human retroviruses with the thought that this work might guide the new efforts to investigate and characterize EVs, which have many similarities to retroviruses.
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