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Wistar Honors Pediatric HIV Researcher in 27th Annual Jonathan Lax Memorial Award Lecture

PHILADELPHIA—(June 22, 2023)—The Wistar Institute hosts its 27th Jonathan Lax Memorial Lecture Thursday, June 29th at 5:30 pm EST. For the first time since 2019, the signature event will be hosted in-person at Wistar; it is also being streamed to ensure attendees have access to the memorial lecture. This year, guest speaker Deborah Persaud, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and interim director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will speak about her research on mother-to-child HIV transmission, pediatric HIV pathogenesis and pediatric cure therapeutics.

Dr. Persaud also serves as the scientific chair of the HIV CURE Scientific Committee of the International Maternal, Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials (IMPACT) group and as a Program Director of the PAVE (Pediatric Adolescent Virus Elimination) Martin Delaney Collaborative. She spoke of being selected to deliver the lecture with gratitude: “It is quite an honor to receive the Jonathan Lax Memorial Award and deliver the 27th annual lecture, which is dedicated to pediatric HIV cure-directed research for the first time. Receiving this tribute to Mr. Lax’s memory, who was such a force in the Philadelphia HIV/AIDS community, is an exceptional distinction.”

“We’re truly excited to host Dr. Persaud this year,” said Wistar’s Luis J. Montaner, D.V.M., D.Phil., the Herbert Kean, M.D., Family Endowed Chair Professor, leader of the HIV Research Program at The Wistar Institute and co-principal investigator of the BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory. “The fight for an HIV/AIDS cure is all-encompassing, and Dr. Persaud’s expertise in pediatric cure-directed HIV research will help the public understand a facet of HIV/AIDS cure research that isn’t often discussed.”

The Wistar Institute and Philadelphia FIGHT established the Jonathan Lax Memorial Award Lecture after Mr. Lax’s death to honor his legacy by bringing distinguished speakers to a lay audience. Previous speakers include luminaries in the HIV/AIDS field such as Nobel Laureate Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the Institut Pasteur; Mike McCune, M.D., Ph.D., head of the HIV Frontiers Initiative and Biotechnology Accelerator Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The 2023 lecture is free and open to a global audience. Register here for in-person attendance and register here for virtual attendance.


The Wistar Institute is the first independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, marshals the talents of an international team of outstanding scientists through a culture of biomedical collaboration and innovation. Wistar scientists are focused on solving some of the world’s most challenging and important problems in the field of cancer, infectious disease, and immunology. Wistar has been producing groundbreaking advances in world health for more than a century. Consistent with its legacy of leadership in biomedical research and a track record of life-saving contributions in immunology and cell biology, Wistar scientists’ early-stage discoveries shorten the path from bench to bedside.

BEAT-HIV Delaney Collaboratory is part of an international consortium of more than 80 top HIV researchers from academia, industry, government, and nonprofit sectors working toward an HIV cure. The Collaboratory is leading three advanced trials to define effective ways to combine immunotherapy regimes towards a cure.

Philadelphia FIGHT is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) offering HIV treatment and primary care to people living with HIV/AIDS and those at high risk, as well as community education and outreach programs on HIV, Hepatitis, and other topics impacting public health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, FIGHT has provided no barrier, walk-up COVID testing to over 19,000 people in low-income neighborhoods of Philadelphia and partnered with ten community-based organizations to bring COVID vaccines to communities.

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