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Professor Dr

Peter Piot

Year of election: 2018
Section: Microbiology and Immunology
City: London
Country: Great Britain


Main areas of research: Infectious diseases, Ebola virus, HIV virus modes of transmission, HIV/AIDS prevention and therapies, public and global health

Peter Piot is a doctor and microbiologist and one of the discoverers of the Ebola virus. He studies infectious diseases and develops strategies against them. He deciphered the HIV virus´ modes of transmission and developed prevention programmes to combat its spread. Piot was the associate director of WHO´s global AIDS programme, founding director of UNAIDS and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.

In 1976, Peter Piot and his colleagues isolated the Ebola virus. The virus is highly contagious and is usually fatal. When the till then unknown disease broke out in Zaire in the 1970s, these scientists, together with colleagues from Zaire and the US Centers for Disease Control, described the epidemiology of the disease, isolated the patients, educated the affected people and were thus able to contain the first Ebola epidemic.

In the 1980s, Peter Piot conducted research on HIV/AIDS in Africa. He was significantly involved in the first major international HIV/AIDS project to take place in a developing country, the SIDA project in Zaire. The findings from this project made crucial contributions to the understanding of this at the time completely new infectious disease. The researchers identified the virus´ modes of transmission including, for example, its passage from a mother to a child.

During his time as the director of UNAIDS he focalized all the UN organizations that were dealing with the AIDS problem. Through his commitment to science, politics and to society, he was able to rouse the people to action, organize money for the fight against AIDS and initiate worldwide campaigns. He promoted both HIV preventative and therapeutic programmes in low and middle income countries, and played a major role in ensuring access to antiretroviral treatment worldwide.

Peter Piot is active in various aspects of global health policy and global health security.


  • since 2010 Professor of Global Health and Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Bloomsbury, London, UK
  • 2009-2010 Director of the Institute for Global Health, Imperial College London, UK
  • 2009, 2010 Full chair “Knowledge against poverty“ at College de France, Paris, France
  • 2009 Senior Fellow, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • 1995-2008 Founding director of UNAIDS, the joint programme of the United Nationson HIV/AIDS, and Under-Secretary General of the UNO
  • 1992-1995 Deputy director of the “Global Programme on AIDS“ of the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • 1988-1992 Associate Director for Public Health, Free University of Brussels, Belgium
  • 1986, 1987 Associate Professor at the University of Nairobi, Kenia
  • 1981-1992 Various academic functions, and then Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunity, University Antwerp, Belgium
  • 1980 PhD in microbiology, University Antwerp, Belgium
  • 1978, 1979 Senior Fellow in Infectious Dieases, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
  • 1974 MD in medicine at the University of Ghent, Belgium


  • 2014-2015 Chair, WHO Ebola Science Committee, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2011-2017 Chair, MRC Global Health Group
  • 2011-2017 Member, MRC Strategy Board
  • 2011-2016 European Forum for Forward Looking Activities, DG research & Innovation, EC, Brussels, Belgium
  • 1991-1994 President of the International AIDS Society (IAS)
  • Chair of HMG Strategic Coherence of ODA funded Research Board, London, UK
  • Vice chair, Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, Tokyo, Japan
  • Vice chair, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)
  • Independent Advisory Committee to the Global Burden of Disease, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
  • Chair, King Baudouin Foundation, New York, USA
  • Council member of the African Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa
  • Board member, Public Health Foundation of India
  • Member of the Oxford Martin Commission on Future Generations

Honours and Memberships

  • 2018 Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan
  • since 2018 Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 2016 Honorary Knighthood, KCMG, London, UK
  • 2016 RSTMH Manson Medal
  • 2016 Bloomberg Hopkins Centennial Award
  • 2015 Canada Gairdner Global Health Award
  • 2015 Robert Koch Medal
  • 2015 Prix International de l’INSERM
  • 2014 Asteroid (19175) Peterpiot named after him
  • 2014 TIME Person of the Year
  • 2014 Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health
  • 2013 Hideyo Noguchi Africa Award for medical research
  • 2009 CMG
  • 2003 Frank A. Calderone Award for Public Health
  • 2001 Thomas Parran Award of ASTDA
  • 2001 Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights
  • 1995 Title of Baron awarded by King Albert II. of Belgium
  • Member of the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, USA
  • Member of the Royal Academy of Medicine, Belgium
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London, UK
  • Member of the Académie Nationale de Médecine, France
  • Multiple honorary doctoral degrees




Emil-Abderhalden-Str. 35
06108 Halle (Saale)

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 122
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 139
E-Mail archiv (at)leopoldina.org

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