PHILADELPHIA - Beatrice Hahn, MD and George Shaw, MD, will be joining the faculty of the Penn Center for AIDS Research in the School of Medicine in 2011. Both are international leaders in human and simian immunodeficiency virus research and have made groundbreaking contributions to this field for over two decades. Hahn and Shaw have also contributed significantly to the study of the transmission of human infectious pathogens from non-human animals.
Hahn's most recent work, reported in the cover story of the September 23, 2010 issue of Nature, describes groundbreaking studies identifying the origin of Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly form of malaria, in West African gorillas, findings that will spearhead new research to understand host/pathogen interactions that underlie the transmission and pathogenicity of malaria.
“Individually and together, Dr. Hahn and Dr. Shaw will bring additional depth to Penn Medicine in this critical area of science,” says Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine. “Their impact will extend far beyond the School of Medicine and the Penn Center for AIDS Research to the entire biomedical research community on campus, and their recruitment signals the University’s commitment to basic and translational research involving global health pathogens.”
“The recruitment of these two distinguished physicians-scientists underscores the strength of the Penn scientific community and its unique attractiveness in coupling the best of biomedical discovery with the betterment of the human condition,” says Richard P. Shannon, MD, the Frank Wister Thomas Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine.
Hahn received her MD degree from the University of Munich Medical School, and pursued postdoctoral studies at the National Cancer Institute Laboratory of Tumor Cell Virology. She joined the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) in 1985 where she is currently Professor and Co-Director of the UAB Center for AIDS Research. She has published over 200 research papers, many of which are senior authored manuscripts in Science, Nature, Cell and other prominent journals. Her seminal contributions include developing the first molecular clone of HIV-1, discovering the origins of HIV-1 and HIV-2 in non-human primate species in Africa, determining the pathogenic impact of SIV infection on wild chimpanzee populations, and making fundamental observations in the molecular and virologic characterization of numerous HIV and SIV genes and isolates.
Shaw received his MD degree from Ohio State University and his residency training in Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and continued his post-doctoral studies at the National Cancer Institute Laboratory of Tumor Cell Virology. He joined the Department of Medicine at UAB in 1985, and served as Director of the Hematology/Oncology Division from 1997-2003. In 1997 Dr. Shaw was named an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and he is currently Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at UAB. Shaw’s 230 original publications include pioneering studies revealing the dynamic nature of HIV replication in acute and chronic infection, HIV escape from host humoral and cellular immune control, and novel insights into the genetic and biological features of acutely transmitted isolates of HIV and SIV that are responsible for the spread of virus between individuals. His work has also introduced innovative technological advances that transformed the field of molecular virology, and his recent studies expanded these concepts to studies of viral hepatitis.