Open main menu

Myron Elmer "Max" Essex (born August 17, 1939) is the Mary Woodard Lasker Professor of Health Sciences in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University, Chair of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health AIDS Initiative (HAI) in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases,[1] and Chair of the Botswana–Harvard AIDS Institute in Gaborone, Botswana. Essex was one of the first to link animal and human retroviruses to immunosuppressive disease, to suspect that a retrovirus was the cause of AIDS, and to determine that HIV could be transmitted through blood and blood products to hemophiliacs and recipients of blood transfusions. With collaborators, Essex also provided the first evidence that HIV could be transmitted by heterosexual intercourse.

Myron 'Max' Essex
Max essex.jpg
Max Essex in Botswana, July 2007
Born
Myron Elmer Essex

(1937-08-17) 17 August 1937 (age 82)
ResidenceCambridge, Massachusetts, United States
NationalityAmerican
Other namesMyron Essex, Max Essex
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationDoctorate of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 1967; Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 1970.
Alma materMichigan State University
(DVM, 1967), University of California, Davis
(1970, PhD)
OccupationVirologist, veterinarian, professor of immunology and public health
Years active1936 to present
EmployerHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Known forshowed that a retrovirus caused immune suppression; scientific research relating to transmission of retroviruses and their links to certain diseases in both animals and human beings.
Spouse(s)Dr. Elizabeth Essex
Children2 adult daughters; 5 grandchildren
Awards
  • Ten (10) honorary degrees
  • Elected member, Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences (now NASEM)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology
  • HIV Lifetime Achievement Award for Scientific Contributions from Institute of Human Virology (IHV), University of Maryland School of Medicine, November 2011
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, AIDS Society of India, 2014

In 1984, Essex identified gp120, the virus surface protein that is used worldwide for blood screening, HIV detection, and epidemiological monitoring. With collaborators, he discovered the first simian immunodeficiency virus, as well as HIV-2. Since 1986, he has developed programs for AIDS collaboration in Senegal, Thailand, Botswana, India, Mexico, and China. In 1996, Essex helped establish the Botswana–Harvard Partnership for HIV Research and Education (now the Botswana–Harvard AIDS Institute). This is a collaboration between the Ministry of Health in Botswana and HAI.

Contents

BiographyEdit

Essex was born in Coventry, Rhode Island in 1939.[2] Essex earned his DVM from Michigan State University in 1967. He earned his Ph.D. from University of California, Davis, in 1970.

He has been married to Elizabeth Essex since 1967. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.[3]

Essex holds ten honorary doctorates[3] and 15 patents and has received the Lasker Award,[4] the highest medical research award given in the United States, jointly with Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier in 1986. He has published over 500 papers and 12 books, including two editions of AIDS in Africa (ISBN 0306466996), and his latest, Saturday Is for Funerals (ISBN 0674050770). Essex has worked in twelve (12) different nations as a veterinarian and virologist: Botswana, China, Colombia, India, Japan, Nigeria, Senegal, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, U.S., Zaire.[3]

His 45 years of working papers, the Myron Essex papers, 1949-1996, are archived in the Countway Library's Center for the History of Medicine through funding by a Hidden Collections grant from the Harvard University Library (HUL) within The Maximizing Microbiology: Molecular Genetics, Cancer, and Virology, 1936-2000 project. In addition to the Myron Essex papers (1949-1996), the project has already led to the processing of collections of several other microbiologists, including those of Bernard D. Davis, Arthur B. Pardee, Francesc Duran i Reynals, and Luigi Gorini. Essex serves on the Library's Archives Committee.[5]

He has been the primary mentor to eight (80) Postdocs and to 34 Doctoral students. He has authored 629 research papers, forty (40) of which have been published in Science or Nature.[3]

His 45 years of working papers, the Myron Essex papers, 1949-1996, are archived in the Countway Library's Center for the History of Medicine through funding by a Hidden Collections grant from the Harvard University Library (HUL) within The Maximizing Microbiology: Molecular Genetics, Cancer, and Virology, 1936-2000 project. In addition to the Myron Essex papers (1949-1996), the project has already led to the processing of collections of several other microbiologists, including those of Bernard D. Davis, Arthur B. Pardee, Francesc Duran i Reynals, and Luigi Gorini. Essex serves on the Library's Archives Committee. In 2018 Dr. Essex announced his retirement plans.[3]

AwardsEdit

  • Elected member, Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS, now NASEM)[citation needed]
  • Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology[citation needed]
  • HIV Lifetime Achievement Award for Scientific Contributions from the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, November 2011[6]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, AIDS Society of India, 2014 (in Kolkata). The plaque reads “For his exemplary contribution towards research in HIV/AIDS and for his outstanding leadership in public health.”[citation needed]

Awards named for Max EssexEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit