What Sarah Schlesinger Hopes to Accomplish
Dr. Sarah J. Schlesinger has been actively engaged in HIV/AIDS and HIV vaccine research for over ten years. She is currently conducting clinical trials to test a new vaccine called ADMVA, designed to stimulate immune responses and thereby prevent HIV from ever being contracted. A graduate of Wellesley College and Rush Medical College, Schlesinger has been interested in medical science since she was a teenager. As a high school student attending a lecture at Rockefeller University, she boldly asked scientist Ralph Steinman for a job in his laboratory.
Schlesinger worked in Steinman's lab just a few years after he and Zanvil Cohn published their famous discovery of dendritic cells. She then went on to head her own dendritic cell lab at Walter Reed Hospital from 1990 to 2002. With new knowledge about the ability of dendritic cells to orchestrate the body's immune response, Schlesinger and her colleagues are attempting to develop customized immune therapies to target specific infections such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and influenza; certain cancers; and autoimmune diseases.
Question: What do you hope to accomplish?
Sarah Schlesinger: What I hope to accomplish is to have four sons leading productive and happy lives.
That would be the first thing. I would love for there to be an HIV vaccine in my lifetime. It doesn’t even have to be one in which I’ve participated developing. I feel that my contribution to the field has been not zero. I’ve worked on it, and I could care less whose vaccine it is. I really hope that I live to see a vaccine that works. And I hope that I live to see a lot of my students go forward doing wonderful work. I guess that’s it.
Recorded on: June 10, 2008
Happy, successful children and students, and an AIDS vaccine, is what Schlesigner wants.
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