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Johns Hopkins Medicine
Media Relations and Public Affairs
Media contact: David March
May 19, 2006


Physician-scientist Richard Chaisson, M.D., an internationally renowned authority on tuberculosis Chaisson.jpgand a professor of medicine, epidemiology and international health at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will receive the prestigious 2006 World Lung Health Award for scientific achievement from the American Thoracic Society. The award will be given at a ceremony to be held on May 21 at the organization’s annual meeting in San Diego, Calif.

Chaisson, founding director of Hopkins’ Center for Tuberculosis Research, leads the largest TB-related research effort in the United States, with more than $100 million in research grants and supported by 50 scientists.

"Dick Chaisson is one on a very short list of investigators who has established an international reputation for excellence in both tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS," says John Bartlett, M.D., chair of infectious disease at Hopkins and the Stanhope Baynes Jones Professor of Medicine.

"Half of the people who are infected with tuberculosis also have HIV infection, and half the people who have HIV also have tuberculosis. So the intersection of these two conditions on a global scale is a very important factor in the success of Dick’s work," he adds.

Chaisson currently leads two international studies of the effectiveness of the antibiotic moxifloxacin as a new, faster treatment for tuberculosis, the contagious bacterial disease that kills more than 2 million people worldwide each year and is the leading cause of death of people living with HIV and AIDS. Moxifloxacin is currently used as a treatment for bacterial respiratory infections, such as bronchitis, sinusitis and pneumonia, but according to Chaisson, it also holds great promise as a treatment for tuberculosis. He points out that there has not been a new therapy for tuberculosis in more than 40 years.

Chaisson also directs the Hopkins-based Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS/TB Epidemic, called CREATE, an international effort to control the spread of tuberculosis and treat the disease in countries hit most hard by the duel epidemics.

Since joining Hopkins in 1988, his major research interests have dealt with tuberculosis and HIV infection, especially its impact on the health of people in developing countries, where most new cases of the diseases occur each year. During his first decade at Hopkins, Chaisson was director of Hopkins’ AIDS Service and co-founder of the Hopkins Clinic cohort, a large study of how Baltimore residents were responding to the pandemic. He has authored 273 articles and 44 book chapters.

Chaisson received his undergraduate degree in marine biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1976 and his medical degree at the University of Massachusetts in Worcester in 1982. He then completed his training in internal medicine and infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, where he finished as a scholar and fellow in clinical epidemiology and international health in 1987. For his commitment to caring for those living with HIV infection, the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care named him an honorary lifetime member in 2005.

- JHM -