Harvard School of Public Health professor Barry R. Bloom named recipient of national award for contributions to understanding immune responses to infectious diseases


For immediate release: September 2, 2009

Boston, MA — Barry R. Bloom, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), will receive the 2009 Prix Galien USA Pro Bono Humanum award at a ceremony on September 30 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City for “bringing the best of modern biological and economic science to the poorest corners of the globe.”

The award also will be conferred on Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. The ceremony will be emceed by broadcast journalist Charlie Rose.

In its citation, the award committee acknowledged that Professor Bloom, who is the former Dean of HSPH: “has made fundamental scientific contributions to understanding immune responses to infectious diseases such as leprosy, tuberculosis and malaria, afflicting people in the poorest countries. Result: Leprosy is on the WHO list of diseases slated for elimination, and major global efforts are now under way to reduce the burden of TB and malaria. Long committed to bringing the cutting edge of science and education to problems of the developing world, he has written that ‘investing efforts and funds to strengthen the health systems in countries around the world would protect our country and every other against global epidemics, save millions of lives, and change the US image from one of self-interest to one of human interest.’ ”

The Prix Galien USA recognizes the technical, scientific and clinical research skills necessary to develop innovative medicines. The award committee comprises 11 individuals, including seven Nobel Laureates.

Biography of Barry R. Bloom

A leading scientist in the areas of infectious diseases, vaccines, and global health, and former consultant to the White House, Dr. Barry Bloom continues to pursue an active interest in bench science as the principal investigator of a laboratory researching the immune response to and vaccines for tuberculosis, a disease that claims more than two million lives each year.

He has been extensively involved with the World Health Organization (WHO) for more than 40 years. He is currently Chair of the Technical and Research Advisory Committee to the Global Programme on Malaria at WHO and has been a member of the WHO Advisory Committee on Health Research and chaired the WHO Committees on Leprosy Research and Tuberculosis Research, and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases.  Dr. Bloom serves on the editorial board of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

Dr. Bloom currently serves on the Wellcome Trust Pathogens, Immunology and Population Health Strategy Committee, and Scientific Advisory Committee of the Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.  He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Advisory Council of the Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research.

His past service includes membership on the National Advisory Council of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Center for Infectious Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Advisory Board of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Governing Board of the Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Bloom was the founding chair of the board of trustees for the International Vaccine Institute in South Korea, which is devoted to promoting vaccine development for diseases of the most needy children in the developing world.  He has chaired the Vaccine Advisory Committee of UNAIDS, where he played a critical role in the debate surrounding the ethics of AIDS vaccine trials.  He was also a member of the U.S. National Vaccine Advisory Committee, and AIDS Vaccine Research Committee.

Dr. Bloom came to HSPH to serve as Dean of the Faculty in 1998. He stepped down December 31, 2008, and is currently a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor at HSPH.  In his capacity as Dean, he served as Secretary Treasurer for the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH).  Prior to that he served as chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine from 1978 to 1990, the year in which he became an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where he also served on the Institute’s Medical Advisory Board.  In 1977-8, he served as a consultant to the White House on international health policy.

Dr. Bloom holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and an honorary D.Sc. from Amherst College and a Ph.D. in immunology from Rockefeller University.

He is a past president of the American Association of Immunologists and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. He received the first Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Research in Infectious Diseases, shared the Novartis Award in Immunology in 1998, and was the recipient of the Robert Koch Gold Medal for lifetime research in infectious diseases in 1999.

Dr. Bloom is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Philosophical Society.