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William A. Blattner, MD

William A. Blattner, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is a pioneer in the epidemiological studies of human retroviruses, including HIV.

His HIV research began in 1981 during his 22-year tenure at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). With colleague Robert Gallo, MD, Blattner defined the link between the first human retrovirus, HTLV-1, and adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. He was an important member of Gallo’s research team when it co-discovered the AIDS virus, including studies that established HIV as the cause of AIDS, described its transmission and prevention and wrote the first peer reviewed paper describing the sensitivity and specificity of the lifesaving HIV blood test.

In 1995, Blattner left the NCI for the University of Maryland, where he cofounded the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) with Gallo and others. With the IHV mission of integrating basic, clinical and population research to advance the pace of discovery from bench to bedside and public health practice, Blattner not only conducted basic studies of the pathogenesis of acute HIV infection but also implemented  the ACTION program in Nigeria funded with a $293 million President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) grant that screened over 3 million for HIV, served 1.3 million at risk mothers and babies, cared for 267,000 and treated 166,000 HIV positive patients, all of which are a part of a larger enterprise that has reversed HIV mortality globally.  Blattner is also associate director for population sciences at the university’s Greenbaum Cancer Center and director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology in the School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health.

He has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and has been honored by the U.S. Public Health Service and the American Public Health Association with its John Snow Award. He is an advisor to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other federal offices and the National Academy Institute of Medicine. He also is founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Blattner received his bachelor’s degree in 1966 and his medical degree in 1970, both from Washington University. He interned at Strong Memorial Hospital, completed residencies at the New York Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, and did his medical oncology training at the NCI.

The Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association is pleased to present its Alumni Achievement Award to Dr. Blattner.

Published: 04/12/2015