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GVN Remembers Reinhard Kurth

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dr. Reinhard Kurth
 Dr. Reinhard Kurth

Kurth’s Legacy Memorialized with Scholarship Fund

Baltimore, MD: Professor Reinhard Kurth, Global Virus Network (GVN) Co-Founder, passed away on February 2 after a long valiant fight against cancer.  Dr. Kurth was on the frontline of AIDS research having contributed to the understanding of how HIV attacks cells, ultimately leading to disease.  He helped pioneer a scientific field that came to be known as endogenous human retrovirology, which focuses on viruses not known to cause disease, but may have important roles in biology.  Dr. Kurth, through this cutting-edge research, provided biomedical scientists with the tools necessary to research with, and to study, viral sequences contained within the human genome. 

Dr. Kurth was a leading figure in biomedicine in Germany.  Most recently, he served as chairman of the Foundation Council of the Ernst Schering Foundation.  He previously served as President of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, the Robert Koch Institute and the German Drug Safety Institute. All three institutions are pivotal in safeguarding the health of the German people and critical partners to institutions globally.  He was an elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) as well as of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences.  In 2005, Dr. Kurth became a member of the American Philosophical Society. Among his many lifetime awards and honors for advancing medicine and science, Dr. Kurth received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of his scientific contributions and public service in 2005.

Dr. Robert Gallo, one of the three co-founders of GVN and director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, a GVN Center of Excellence, said, “Reinhard Kurth was one of the best medical virologists in the world.  He was able to galvanize investigators from Germany, including from the Robert Koch Institute, the Technical University of Munich and the University of Marburg, to join in the important efforts of the Global Virus Network (GVN) for future medical virologists and for helping policy leaders understand the nature of emerging and reemerging virus infections.  He was an invaluable leader of German health sciences, an important advisor to me, and a close, personal friend.  His absence will leave a significant hole in my life and that of many others.”

Dr. William Hall, also a co-founder, and director of the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases at University College Dublin's (UCD) School of Medicine and Medical Science in Dublin, Ireland, one of GVN’s Centers of Excellence,  said, ”Recognizing Reinhard’s deep concern that young scientists do not have sufficient opportunities to encourage them toward medical virology career paths, we are honoring his legacy of science and service with the establishment of the Global Virus Network Reinhard Kurth Scholarship Fund.  This Fund will support long- and short-term training opportunities for the next generation of medical virology leaders who will be on the front lines of pandemic preparedness and who will help us tackle viral diseases which threaten countries worldwide today.”  To learn more information or to contribute to the Reinhard Kurth GVN Scholarship fund, please visit here.

About Global Virus Network (GVN)

The Global Virus Network (GVN) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, comprised of leading medical virologists from more than 20 countries.  The GVN’s mission is to combat current and emerging pandemic viral threats through international collaborative research, training the next generation of medical virologists, and advocacy.  For more information, please visit www.gvn.org or call 410-706-1966.  Follow GVN on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

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