Heart + Lung Health FEST 2015

British Columbia Lecture Recipient

Photography - imaging by marlisDr. Julio Montaner is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a graduate of the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires (1973) and received his Medical Degree with Honors from the University of Buenos Aires (1979). In 1981, Dr. Montaner joined the University of British Columbia (UBC) at St Paul’s Hospital (SPH) where he completed his training in Internal and Respiratory Medicine. While in training, he led several clinical studies that demonstrated the role of adjunctive corticosteroids in Pneumocystis-related respiratory failure in the setting of AIDS. In 1988, he became the Director of the AIDS Research Program and the Immunodeficiency Clinic at SPH/UBC. Since then, he focused his research in the development of antiretroviral therapies and management strategies. In the mid 90’s, as the PI of the INCAS Trial, he played a key role in establishing the efficacy of NNRTI based highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which emerged as the new global Standard of Care at the 1996 Vancouver International AIDS Conference, of which he was a co-organizer. He then focused his attention to HAART access to hard to reach populations, including injection drug users, and the treatment of multiple drug resistant HIV infection with great success. Since the late 90’s he also pioneered the concept of Treatment as Prevention (TasP). He was the first to advocate for the expansion of HAART coverage to curb the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, in terms of decreasing progression to AIDS and death, as well as decreasing HIV transmission. Largely through his efforts, TasP has now been implemented with great success in BC, and progressively embraced by UNAIDS, China, PEPfAR, the US Government, and France, among others. In 2013 TasP was fully incorporated in the WHO Consolidated ARV Guidelines.

Dr. Montaner is a Professor of Medicine at UBC and has held the Endowed Chair in AIDS Research at SPH/UBC since 1996. He is a founding Co-Director of the Canadian HIV Trials Network. He is the Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. He was the President of the International AIDS Society from 2008-2010.

Dr. Montaner has authored over 600 scientific publications on HIV/AIDS. In 2008, he received the inaugural Avant-Garde Award of $2.5 million over 5 years, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to support his project entitled “Seek and Treat for Optimal Outcomes and Prevention in HIV & AIDS in IDU (STOP HIV/AIDS)”. In September 2009, he was the recipient of the $100,000 Knowledge Translation Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health (CIHR) and, in November 2009, he was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada-The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences (RSC). Founded in 1882, the RSC, consisting of distinguished Canadian scholars, artists and scientists, is Canada’s senior and most prestigious scholarly organization. In 2010, he received the Prix Galien Award, the Order of BC as well as the Albert Einstein World of Science Award. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to Austria, the Hope is a Vaccine Award from the Global Alliance to Immunize against AIDS, and The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to the field of HIV/AIDS. Most recently, he received the award “Senador Domingo Faustino Sarmiento” from the Argentina Senate of the Nation presented to him by the Honorable Amado Boudou, Vice President of Argentina, and the Honorable Maria Laura Leguizamon, Senator of Buenos Aires. Dr. Montaner has received three Doctor of Science-honoris causa degrees from Simon Fraser University, Cordoba University and the University of Buenos Aires. In May 2014, he was assigned the position of Global Advisor on HIV Therapeutics to the Executive Director of the United Nations AIDS Programme.

View an abstract of Dr. Montaner’s upcoming FEST talk, titled Treatment as prevention: Building on the HIV experience to promote healthcare sustainability