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Institute for Molecular Medicine & Infectious Disease 2014 International Symposium

Donald H. Gilden, MD

Donald H. Gilden, MD

Drexel's Hilary Koprowski Prize in Neurovirology Lecture:
"Varicella zoster Virus and Giant Cell Arteritis"

Don Gilden received his BA from Dartmouth College, his MD from University Maryland, completed a neurology residency at University Chicago and postdoctoral fellowship in neurovirology at Johns Hopkins. He was professor of neurology at University Pennsylvania and Wistar Institute before serving as chairman of Department of Neurology at University Colorado School of Medicine for more than 24 years.  He is a superb clinician, outstanding teacher and effective administrator, and has performed highly innovative work on serious viral diseases of the CNS.  He has published 394 papers, reviews and chapters.

Dr. Gilden is best known for seminal studies on Varicella zoster virus (VZV).  He was first to find VZV DNA in normal human ganglia, accomplished before PCR was developed.  Further studies resulted in first detection of entire VZV genome in human ganglia along entire neuraxis; first demonstration of circular configuration and association of latent VZV DNA with histones; first demonstration of highly variable abundance; first identification of latent VZV transcripts; and that VZV is latent exclusively in human ganglionic neurons.

Dr. Gilden identified zoster sine herpete (shingles pain without rash) as a true nosologic entity, discovered that VZV "encephalitis" is primarily vasculopathy with virus production in cerebral arteries, showed that detection of anti-VZV IgG in CSF is most sensitive indicator of VZV vasculopathy, demonstrated that VZV vasculopathy and infection of spinal cord can manifest without rash and that VZV may be the cause of giant cell arteritis.

Dr. Gilden has been awarded an Outstanding Teaching Award by neurology residents four times, received the Alumni Award for Distinguished Service from University of Chicago, and was elected to the Association of American Physicians, to fellowship in AAAS, to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. He received the Pioneer Award of ISNV, and the 2008 Honor Award and Gold Key for outstanding contributions to medicine and distinguished service to mankind from University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Dr. Gilden is principal investigator on three NIH research grants.

In an age of increasing specialization, Dr. Gilden's work represents an extraordinary integration of cutting-edge molecular technology and clinical medicine that has led to significant advances in basic science knowledge and treatment of serious neurological disease caused by viruses.

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Students walking down the hall at the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease at Drexel University College of Medicine.