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In memory of Dr. Gibbs who died February 16, 2001

Dr. Clarence "Joe" Joseph Gibbs, Jr., chief of NINDS's Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies (LCNSS). He was 76 years old.Dr. Gibbs received his A. B., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the Catholic University of America. He carried out predoctoral research in clinical microbiology and virology under Dr. Joseph E. Smadel in the Department of Hazardous Operations, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research where he developed a vaccine for Rift Valley Fever Virus. In 1959 he joined the Laboratory of Tropical Virology and became Acting Chief of the Section on Arthropod Borne Viruses, NIAID. In 1961 in collaboration with D. Carleton Gajdusek he established the Laboratory of Slow, Latent and Temperate Virus Infections. In 1964 he demonstrated infection as the etiology of kuru and in 1967 of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, both subacute progressive degenerative brain diseases, resulting in the Nobel Prize for Medicine awarded to Dr. Gajdusek in 1976. Dr. Gibbs became Chief of the Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies in 1998. He has received numerous awards and honors including the HHS Gold Medal for research, was twice awarded the SES Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award, in addition to three honorary degrees. He is an elected member of the American Neurological Association and the French Neurological Society, and was the recipient of the Ottorino Rossi Award from the University of Pavia, Italy. Dr. Gibbs’ laboratory is studying the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (prion diseases).

Research Interests:

Research efforts focus on slow, latent, and temperate viral infections associated with chronic degenerative neurological diseases. Important areas of study are the etiology and pathogenesis of slow infections (subacute spongiform encephalopathies) and mechanisms of viral persistence in the central nervous system.Also under intensive molecular biological, genetic, and immunological study is amyloid formation in the brain in kuru, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease (GSS), fatal familial insomnia (FFI), scrapie, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and Alzheimer's disease.

Studies are also conducted on the elucidation of the de novo generation of infectious amyloid proteins from normal host precursor proteins in kuru, CJD, GSS, FFI, scrapie and BSE. Other chronic CNS disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, parkinsonism dementia, Viliuisk encephalitis, schizophrenia, and bipolar psychoses are also studied from the point of view of etiology and pathogenesis.


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