( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) The $1 Million Donation Is The Largest Gift In The Organization’s History; Coincides With The Tenth Anniversary of the Founding of the Global Virus Network
ENSPIRE Contributor: Re’Dreyona Walker
The Global Virus Network (GVN) has announced that an anonymous $1 million donation from a supportive philanthropist will go towards creating two new programs in the GVN’s Academy, an initiative that fosters global collaborations by providing training and mentoring programs for rising junior virologists. With the donation, GVN has proudly launched the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the GVN Rising Star Program. These programs will bring rising junior virologists the opportunity to work within a coalition of the world’s leading medical virology research centers working to prevent illness and death from viral disease.
The GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Training Program will train two postdoctoral researchers during a two-year term with the option to rotate among two GVN Centers of Excellence. Participants of the program will engage in GVN annual and regional meetings during their two-year term, exposing them to top virology experts and cutting-edge research initiatives. The GVN Rising Star Program will mentor 15 bright, junior scientists over the course of two years and match each mentee with a GVN senior virologist to provide one-on-one research and career guidance. Participants of the program will also engage in the elite GVN annual and regional meetings.
These mentorship programs will help develop the careers of many virologists who aim to make a global impact in advancing the field of virology. Dr. Sharon Lewin, Director of The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Director of Doherty’s GVN Center of Excellence says that she is grateful that these mentorship programs can help GVN’s early-career professionals.
“Like all of my colleagues at the GVN, mentors have helped shape my career,” Lewin said. “I am pleased to support these terrific GVN mentorship programs and look forward to fostering an environment of support and opportunity to guide and inspire career paths of early investigators. I would also like to congratulate the GVN on ten years of making a real global impact, including building collaborative research alliances, advancing the field of virology, and educating governments, public health organizations, and the public at large on current and future viral threats.”
The gift is the largest the organization has ever received, and the charitable contribution is especially meaningful as it marks the 10 year anniversary since top virologists from more than a dozen countries ratified their participation in, and support of, the then newly created GVN at the inaugural meeting held March 1-3, 2011 at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C.
During the inaugural meeting ten years ago, GVN members identified a global shortage of rising virologists in basic, clinical and translational research, particularly in low-income countries. Since then, GVN senior virologists have committed to sharing their invaluable expertise with junior virologists through mentorship and intensive training at the GVN to better prepare the next generation against global viral threats.
Dr. Christian Bréchot, President of the GVN and Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at the University of South Florida (USF), acknowledges how he is pleased the donation will go towards advancing GVN’s mission to better prepare the world against viral threats, unlike COVID-19 in America.
“We are extremely grateful for the philanthropist’s generous donation to advance GVN’s mission, particularly in helping to prepare mankind for future viral threats through international, post-doctoral fellowship programs and education initiatives,” Bréchot said. “As GVN’s founders noted from the beginning, gaining experience through academia will help translate the next-generation virologists’ concepts into practical solutions to meet the global, public-health needs of the future.”