Daily Archives: March 30, 2011

A ‘dance’ before a trial begins

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Nelson L. Michael is a medical doctor, has a doctorate in molecular biology, holds the rank of colonel in the U.S. Medical Corps and his day job is huge: He is in charge of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Rockville, Md. He oversees 750 people and his budget this year was $180 million.

But Michael is low-key to the core, and much of his job escapes public notice, even if he now is following multiple leads that resulted from a Thailand HIV vaccine study, which showed in 2009 for the first time that a preventive HIV vaccine was possible.

Often his job is figuring out how to make things work for research, and that has led him to Mozambique a couple of times in recent months to talk about starting a clinical trial site for HIV vaccine research…