Comments prepared by co-chairperson Melinda French Gates – April 30, 2008
There is no better science than what SBRI does.
In addition to the advanced facilities at SBRI, researchers can collaborate with hundreds of infectious disease experts in one of the most dynamic scientific communities in the world, which is why SBRI draws so many brilliant researchers. In the end, they know that their research will save people’s lives.
I visited SBRI a few weeks ago, and I got to talk to the researchers in Leo Stamatatos’s lab. Their work is astounding: they are making antibodies that neutralize HIV, on the way to an AIDS vaccine.
This project uses awesome computer technology to cycle through thousands and thousands of proteins to find some that the epitopes can slot into, like a three-dimensional puzzle. When I asked how they ended up at SBRI, their answers totally floored me.
From Indiana, George Sellhorn studied soybean enzymes in graduate school. Then, he saw an ad for a job at SBRI after completing his Ph.D., and he knew he had the right technical skills, and now he’s working on cutting-edge HIV research. Zach Caldwell majored in French literature. I’m not kidding. He somehow got to SBRI.