Dr. José Esparza, senior adviser for vaccines at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will present the inaugural Distinguished Lecture of the Center for Globalization at Baylor College of Medicine.

His talk, “Harnessing Science to Solve Public Health Problems,” will be followed by a panel discussion led by Dr. Bobby Kapur, director of the Center for Globalization. The presentation begins at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 23, in Cullen Auditorium.

"As an innovative physician scientist and a leader of global programs at the UN, WHO, and the Gates Foundation, Dr. Esparza's insights and experiences help bring scientific discoveries directly to patients in need," said Kapur, also assistant professor of medicine – emergency medicine and pediatrics at BCM and associate chief of emergency medicine at Ben Taub General Hospital.

Esparza received his medical degree in his native country of Venezuela in 1968 and his doctorate in virology and cell biology in 1974 from BCM. He returned to Venezuela from 1974 to 1986 to the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research in Caracas, where he became professor of virology, chief of the Laboratory of Biology of Viruses and chair of the Center of Microbiology and Cell Biology. He also served as a visiting professor at Duke University. He became a globally recognized expert in the field of rotaviruses.

In 1986, he joined the World Health Organization, in Geneva, Switzerland, where he held several positions during his 18 years. He became a leader in the field of HIV vaccines, promoting and facilitating HIV trials in developing countries. Esparza joined the Gates Foundation in 2004, driving the establishment of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise.

Since 1974, Esparza has published more than 160 articles, chapters and review articles, mostly concerning human virology, HIV/AIDS and vaccinology. He serves on numerous scientific committees around the world.

BCM launched its Center for Globalization a year ago with support from Wallace S. Wilson, a BCM trustee.

The Center serves as an umbrella for BCM's existing international programs, as well as new global initiatives in education, research and patient care.