Evolution of an Epidemic: Taming a Killer Virus

AIDS—acquired immunity deficiency syndrome—was named in 1982, at the beginning of the epidemic in the U.S. It was another two years before it was known that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was the cause of this strange new disease. Death rates rose steadily and steeply over the next decade. By the mid-1990s, AIDS was the leading cause of death for Americans ages 25 to 44 and more than 250,000 people had died from AIDS or AIDS-related causes. “Some of our most creative people were taken away from us by this terrible disease,” says Emory synthetic chemist Dennis Liotta. “I became increasingly Read More …

Marianne Swanson: The Survivor

Marianne Swanson, a senior staff nurse at Grady Health System’s Ponce Center, was born and raised in Brooklyn, in a close-knit Italian-American family and community. She lost her first husband and two of her three children to AIDS, and she is HIV positive. This is her story: Starting a family: Jeff and I were in a singing group in a Catholic Church, that was where we met. We fell in love and got married in a small Christian church in Brooklyn. We were married for about two years before I got pregnant with our first son, Jonathan. My second son Read More …

Nina Martinez: The HIV Positive Twin

Public health analyst Nina Martinez is 35 years old and has been living with HIV for all but six weeks of her life. Her father was active duty Navy, and she’s a twin. She has HIV while her twin does not. This is her story: How it happened: My twin and I were born 12 weeks early and at that time in the mid-1980s you needed to take a lot of lab work. Because they took labs so often, we were both anemic. We required blood transfusions at 6 weeks old. I was transported to San Francisco and she remained Read More …

Dennis Liotta: The Chemist

Synthetic chemist Dennis Liotta, PhD, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor at Emory and executive director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development, is the co-developer of an antiretroviral drug that has saved the lives of countless people living with HIV around the world. Starting out: Liotta says he was “genetically coded to be a chemist.” Not only was he naturally drawn to the field, he was able to follow the footsteps of his oldest brother, an organic chemist at Georgia Tech. “Charles was my first scientific role model,” Liotta says. “He is one of the most gifted teachers I’ve ever seen. Read More …

Raymond Schinazi: The Virologist

Organic medicinal chemist and virologist Raymond Schinazi, PhD, the Frances Winship Walters Professor of Pediatrics at Emory and director of the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology, was born in Egypt to Italian parents. In 1962 his family was threatened by the Nasser regime and immigrated to Naples as refugees. He went to boarding school in the UK, where he was a chemistry major at Bath University, and later came to the U.S. and studied pharmacology at Yale University before beginning his career at Emory. The path to chemist: I was actually pretty good at chemistry. I wanted to by a physicist, but Read More …

George Painter: The Corporate Partner

George Painter, PhD, is the chief executive officer of DRIVE, a not-for-profit company wholly owned by Emory University but with the independence to run like a biotechnology company. He recalls his career and its intersection with the innovations in Dennis Liotta’s lab, where critical HIV antiretroviral drugs were created. Meeting Dennis Liotta: Dennis came to Emory in 1976. I was a senior graduate student, and he was a young assistant professor, so he was here (at Emory) all hours of the day and night as was I, so we became acquainted. But really, the reason I kept coming and going from Read More …

Jeff Lennox: The HIV Physician

Jeff Lennox, MD, is an Emory professor of medicine, Emory chief of internal medicine at Grady Memorial Hospital and the former medical director of the infectious disease program at the Ponce de Leon Center. “At Grady, we see patients from every continent except Antarctica, so we take care of patients with a wide variety of infectious diseases,” he says.” In addition, Grady has one of the largest populations of HIV-infected patients in the United States.” Here, Lennox tells how he came to specialize in infectious disease and HIV.  A new disease: As a medical student, I was fascinated with bacteria Read More …

What Does Mixing Math, Physics, Computers, and Imagination Give You? A Pioneer in Radiation Oncology.

Ian R. Crocker, MD, FACR, is a radiation oncologist specializing in brain and eye tumors, who worked at Winship Cancer Institute for over 30 years. Throughout his career, Crocker was an active member of multiple innovation and research teams that sought to develop new medical technologies and methods to improve treatment outcomes and patient care. Some of his most notable successes include his co-invention of the BetaCath system to prevent the re-narrowing of arteries after an angioplasty and his involvement in the Emory start-up, Velocity Medical Solutions, which produced new, widely used imaging software to improve cancer treatment. Now retired Read More …

Lessons from Baseball: Applying Passion and Competitive Drive to Radiation Oncology

Tim Fox worked at Emory University as an Associate Professor & Director of Medical Physics from 1994 to 2014. In 2005 he and three of his Emory colleagues created the Emory start-up, Velocity Medical Solutions, which built and sold a multimodal medical imaging software. Velocity was later acquired by Varian Medical Systems and in 2014, Fox left Emory to accept a full-time position as the Associate Vice President of Imaging Informatics at Varian. Fox grew up playing baseball and now applies that same passion and drive to his entrepreneurial endeavors Just like the famous line from the baseball movie, Field Read More …

Treating Anxiety Disorders: Balancing the Real World and the Virtual World

Barbara Olasov Rothbaum, PhD, is the Associate Vice Chair of Clinical Research in Emory School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, and director of Emory’s Veterans Program and Emory’s Trauma & Anxiety Recovery Program. Dr. Rothbaum specializes in treatment of anxiety disorders, with a focus on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). With over 200 scientific publications, Rothbaum has changed the field of PTSD and was a forerunner in the use of virtual reality in treatment of anxiety disorders. What initially drew you to the field of psychiatry? I went to UNC-Chapel Hill Read More …