SULLIVAN APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE FOR RESEARCH: AIDS researcher also receives award from international conference

September 24th, 1999

WORCESTER, Mass.—Nationally and internationally known AIDS researcher John L. Sullivan, MD, has been named Director of the Office for Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, announced Chancellor and Dean Aaron Lazare, MD. The Office for Research is responsible for managing the research infrastructure to support an annual research budget of over $93 million and to facilitate the work of more than 250 researchers spread across the University campus and Biotech Park on Plantation Street.

"John Sullivan is not only an excellent researcher, he’s also an excellent manager and leader," said Dr. Lazare. "Our quest to become one of the top 25 academic health centers in research funding falls on the shoulders of our people, and John is one of those people we can rely on to lead our research endeavors toward that goal."

In his new role, Dr. Sullivan, professor of pediatrics, pathology, and molecular genetics & microbiology, will direct the office and will work closely with the Chancellor and his administrative staff on all research matters and provide leadership for the institution in developing a clinical trials office. The top priorities for the coming year will be the establishment of a scientific research council and the renovation of research facilities in the basic and clinical science wings of the university.

"This is an exciting time to be a researcher," said Sullivan, "and nowhere is it more exciting than right here at UMass Medical School. We have excellent people with innovative ideas, new facilities planned that will make all of our labs more efficient, and the support and commitment of the administration. I’m thrilled to head the Office for Research as we mature into a nationally and internationally recognized research center."

Sullivan himself is no stranger to recognition. Active in AIDS research and treatment since tracking of the disease began in 1981, Sullivan has long been sought out as one of the foremost experts in pediatric AIDS and HIV treatment. He is a member of the Governor's Task Force on AIDS, served on the Immunological Sciences Study Section from 1982 to 1986 and was a charter member of AIDS and Related Research Study Section of the NIH. Since 1983, he has received more than $10 million for research directed at understanding how the immune system fights off the AIDS virus and for the development of rapid diagnostic tests for the AIDS virus. He was honored by Governor Dukakis in 1986 for his contribution to the fight against AIDS in children and adults with hemophilia who have been infected with the AIDS virus through contaminated blood products. He has also received the University of Massachusetts Award for Distinguished Public Service.

This month, Sullivan was awarded the prestigious Therapeutic Intervention Special Recognition Award at the second conference on Global Strategies for the Prevention of HIV Transmission from Mothers to Infants. His research into the antiviral drug nevirapine laid the groundwork for the development of a treatment regimen that has been found to effectively interrupt HIV transmission from mother to infant during birth. The conference, sponsored by the International AIDS Society and the American Foundation for AIDS research in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health’s Office of AIDS Research and the Canadian Association for HIV Research, brought together pediatric AIDS researchers from around the globe.

A graduate of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY, where he earned a BS in biology, Sullivan received an MD from the State University of New York Medical School/Upstate. He trained at the Children's Orthopedic Hospital (University of Washington) and, as a research investigator in virology, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He completed additional graduate studies in immunology at NIH. Sullivan served a residency in pediatrics at the University of Washington, where he was a senior fellow in arthritis and immunology from 1976 to 1978. Dr. Sullivan has been with UMass Medical School since 1978.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. UMass Medical School and its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care, attracts more than $93 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. Research funding enables UMass researchers to explore human disease from the molecular level to large-scale clinical trials. Basic and clinical research leads to new approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. A perennial top ten finisher in the annual US News & World Report ranking of primary care medical schools, UMMS comprises a medical school, graduate school of nursing, graduate school of biomedical sciences and an active research enterprise, and is a leader in health sciences education, research, clinical care and public service.

Additional information available: (other web site(s) address) 

NIH funding, on Global Strategies for the Prevention of HIV Transmission from Mothers to Infants, nevirapine,