VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University’s annual Mendel Medal Lecture, featuring Anthony S. Fauci, MD, preeminent immunologist, pioneering HIV/AIDS researcher and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, November 11 in the Jake Nevin Field House on the University’s Main Campus. Dr. Fauci, the recipient of the University’s 2016 Mendel Medal, will deliver a lecture titled, “Ending the HIV/AIDS Pandemic: An Achievable Goal.” The event is free and open to the public.
Dr. Fauci was selected by Villanova as this year’s Mendel Medal winner in recognition of his significant contribution to the body of scientific knowledge in preventing, diagnosing and treating infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, influenza, malaria, tuberculosis, Ebola and the Zika virus, as well as for his lifelong dedication to global health. The Mendel Medal, established in 1928 by the Board of Trustees of Villanova University, honors pioneering scientists “who have demonstrated, by their lives and their standing before the world as scientists, that there is no intrinsic conflict between science and religion.”
Dr. Fauci’s lecture will discuss the extraordinary progress in the 35-year global fight against HIV/AIDS, notably the development of powerful tools for HIV prevention and treatment, as well as the remaining challenges that must be met in the quest to achieve an end to the global pandemic.
Dr. Fauci is currently at the vanguard of the nation’s public health preparations to meet the threat of the Zika virus. As Director of the NIAID, he oversees an extensive portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. Dr. Fauci has advised five Presidents and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues. He was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world.
Villanova University’s Mendel Medal honors 19th century Augustinian friar and scientist Gregor Johann Mendel, Abbot of the Augustinian Monastery, Brünn, Austria, (now Brno, the Czech Republic), best known as “the father of modern genetics” for his discovery of the celebrated laws of heredity that bear his name. Villanova is one of only two Augustinian Catholic institutions of higher education in the country. Past recipients of the Mendel Medal have included Nobel Laureates, outstanding medical researchers, pioneers in physics, astrophysics and chemistry, and noted scientist-theologians.
The Rev. Kail Ellis, OSA, PhD, Special Assistant to the President and Dean Emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University, commenting earlier on Dr. Fauci’s selection as the 2016 Mendel Medal winner said, “Villanova is honored to award the Mendel Award to this esteemed scientist. I am particularly pleased that faculty, and especially students, will have an opportunity to hear Dr. Anthony Fauci in person, as he lectures on his research and contributions to the current understanding of diseases and therapies for such fatal diseases as HIV/AIDS, Ebola and Zika virus.”
“Not since the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed as many as 50 million people around the globe and is considered one of history’s most deadly contagions, has the world been faced with the threat posed by such an array of devastating epidemics,” added Father Ellis. “Humankind is indebted to Dr. Fauci for decades of dedicated work that is helping to make the widespread transmission of these diseases less likely.”
Dr. Fauci says eradicating HIV/AIDS requires a unified effort and commitment to public service such as that exemplified at Villanova.
“I am honored to receive the Mendel Medal and to speak at Villanova, a great university that has prepared many generations of students for lives of public service,” Dr. Fauci said. “I hope to convince the audience that the end of the HIV pandemic is possible with a sustained commitment by the global community.”
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.
Kathleen Scavello, Assistant Director, Media Relations