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Release: Jan. 10, 2000

Stapleton named new director of Helen C. Levitt Center for Viral Pathogenesis and Disease

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Jack T. Stapleton, M.D., University of Iowa professor of internal medicine, has been named director of the Helen C. Levitt Center for Viral Pathogenesis and Disease at the UI College of Medicine.

Stapleton replaces Stanley J. Naides, M.D., who had served as the center's director for the past two years. Naides left the UI in October to accept a position at Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa.

The center, established in 1997 by a $1 million endowment from the estate of Helen C. Levitt through the UI Foundation, promotes and supports interdisciplinary activities aimed at understanding the role of viruses in human disease. Levitt, a native of Sioux City and a 1932 UI graduate, generously supported many areas of the university prior to her death in 1996.

The center integrates the efforts of more than 30 UI faculty from the UI Colleges of Medicine, Liberal Arts and Business, as well as the UI Hygienic Laboratory. The researchers' efforts include learning more about how viruses cause disease as well as improving professional and public awareness of the nature and impact of viral diseases. Viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, respiratory viruses, maternal/fetal diseases and vaccine development are just some of the areas in which UI researchers focus on developing new research, educational and patient care approaches.

Stapleton, a UI faculty member since 1986, received his medical degree at the University of Kansas in 1980. In addition to his new appointment, he is director of the HIV/AIDS Clinic at the UI Hospitals and Clinics. He is principal investigator for the UI subunit of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) AIDS Clinical Trials Groups and the Ryan White Title 3 Early HIV Intervention Services Program. His laboratory research includes studies of hepatitis C virus and hepatitis G virus interactions with cells and how environmental factors such as alcohol consumption contribute to viral-induced liver disease.

In addition, he collaborates with faculty in the UI departments of biology and pathology on studies investigating the mechanisms by which HIV destroys human T cells, and on the effects of alcohol consumption on HIV replication.

Stapleton is a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Infectious Diseases Research Advisory Committee and the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse Committee on Hepatitis C Virus. He is also a consultant for the Food and Drug Administration's Vaccine Advisory Committee. His research is funded by the NIH, the Health Services Research Administration and the VA.

Stapleton is also a staff physician at the VA Medical Center in Iowa City.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.