2018 Bill Narayan Lectureship
J. Victor Garcia-Martinez
Professor of Medicine
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Established in 2009, the Bill Narayan Lectureship was instituted to recognize investigators who have significantly advanced the field of neurovirology through research involving animal models of viral neuropathogenesis. The recipient of the 2018 Opendra Narayan Lecture is Dr. J. Victor Garcia. Dr. Garcia is a Professor of Medicine in the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases (IGHID), and the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an Oliver Smithies Investigator and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Throughout his career, Dr. Garcia has made seminal contributions to our understanding of HIV disease, specifically the function of Nef, an important determinant of HIV pathogenesis and disease progression. More recently, Dr. Garcia’s group has established an outstanding track record in the development, implementation and use of humanized mice for biomedical research. Since their landmark publication describing the humanized BLT mice and more recently the complementary T-cell-only and myeloid cell-only mice, these mouse models have been widely used to address key questions addressing the role of the human immune system in HIV acquisition, prevention, pathogenesis, persistence, and cure. Using the myeloid-only mice, his group was able to demonstrate the role of macrophages in sustained HIV replication in vivo and how macrophages can seed HIV infection in the brain. In addition, his laboratory has used this model to demonstrate the importance of tissue macrophages in HIV persistence and their direct relevance to HIV cure strategies. Dr. Garcia has distinguished himself for his work with underrepresented minorities in science, serving on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. For his work in this area, he was awarded the E. E. Just Lecture from the American Society for Cell Biology and the Diversity Lecture from the American Society of Microbiology.