Nobel prize winner coming to SDSU to speak scientifically

Kali Lingen

Kali Lingen

2008 Nobel Prize winner Luc Montagnier will speak at SDSU on Feb. 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Volstorff Ballroom in The Union.

“He is a world-renowned biomedical researcher, and his visit to SDSU will not only provide a rare opportunity for students, faculty and the community to hear about his past and future research, but is also indicative of the world-wide reputation of SDSU as a research institution,” said Alan Young, an associate professor of veterinary science and associate director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Vaccinology.

Montagnier was awarded a portion of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008 for his work in isolating the HIV virus from AIDS patients. Montagnier shares the Nobel Prize with Francoise Barré-Sinoussi, his collaborator, and Harald zur Hausen.

The Nobel Prize recipient is visiting SDSU to discuss potential research collaborations with Young. Montagnier is interested in working with Young because of his previous research projects with Chronix Biomedical of Brookings.

“Dr. Montagnier is visiting SDSU to discuss potential joint work with Dr. Alan Young regarding a cell culture system to investigate prion pathogenesis,” said Kevin Kephart, vice president of research and dean of the Graduate School, in a press release.

Chronix Biomedical and Young have developed a method to look in tissue culture at how certain immune system cells respond to infection with prions. Examples of prions are scrapie, mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease agents.

“We have examined specific nucleic acid ‘signatures’ released from these cultured cells in response to scrapie infection. These signatures may either be responsive to the infection or specific messengers secreted from the stressed cells in response to prion replication,” Young said.

With Young, Montagnier is interested in developing an in vitro screening system to define the response of the immune system to disease and examine the role of these small nucleic acid signatures in the diagnosis or the cause, development and effects of chronic diseases.

The timeline for the research is unsure at this point.

“At this stage, it is unclear, but it is hoped that this will be the start of a long-term collaboration,” Young said.