Photo: JGH A/V


By Tod Hoffman, Lady Davis Institute

The first annual Symposium on Emerging and Complex Infectious Diseases, co-hosted by the Lady Davis Institute, Division of Infectious Diseases at the Jewish General Hospital, and McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine, honoured Mark Wainberg, paying homage to his achievements as scientist, activist, and mentor to a new generation of researchers and clinicians who are preserving and advancing his legacy. Dr. Wainberg, who died tragically last year, was among the world’s leading experts on HIV infection and was credited with, among other achievements, the discovery of 3TC, one of the first effective therapies that contributed to the transformation of AIDS from fatal to chronic illness.

Dr. Wainberg was praised for his contributions to the development of antiretroviral drugs that have saved millions of lives and for his passionate advocacy on behalf of patients, particularly those in the developing world who have had the most trouble getting access to critical medication.

Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, 2008 Nobel laureate for her role in the discovery of HIV, said, “Mark was convinced that science and advocacy go hand in hand,” noting his passion for both elements of the fight against AIDS.

Dr. Bluma Brenner, a long-time colleague at the LDI and McGill AIDS Centre, lauded him as a “consummate scientist with a moral and ethical conscience.” Community health advocate Ron Rosenes discussed the important role Dr. Wainberg played in destigmatizing AIDS patients from the earliest days of the epidemic. When they needed a champion, he stood with them. Dr. David Eidelman , Dean of Medicine at McGill, praised him for “bringing humanity to science.”

“At the Lady Davis, we feel the loss of Mark every day,” said Dr. Roderick McInnes, Director of the LDI and acting President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

With the inception of this Symposium, the LDI and JGH are highlighting research and developments in clinical treatment of infectious diseases. The second Symposium is scheduled for November 8, 2018.

November 20, 2017