Established in 2017, the IPVS Founders Travel Award is a meritorious award for young researchers who are members of IPVS and have submitted an abstract to present at the next IPV Conference.

This year, the conference originally planned for Barcelona in March, 2020 has been transformed into a fully virtual event taking place July 20-24th, 2020. Visit and find out more about the abstract topics.

In spite of the shift to a virtual event, not all costs for travel and accommodation could be fully recovered.  So the award funding set aside for this purpose will still be put to the intended use.

Sadly, our community has lost multiple great people in recent months.  The IPVS Founders Travel Awards 2020 will be given in memoriam the of Luciano Mariani, Keerti Shah, Bennet Jenson, Karl Ulrich Petry and Paula Gonzalez Maya.

Luciano Mariani is rightly recognized as the HPV man in Italy and the international scientific community has been able to appreciate his qualities as a great communicator who spent most of his clinical and research activity in giving correct information on HPV and at the same time in training health workers.

Mariani had just turned 64 and graduated from La Sapienza University in Rome in 1980. He was one of the first researchers in Italy to test the efficacy of the papillomavirus vaccine.

With him, the whole community of HPV scientists loses not only a valuable clinical researcher but above all a man who has personally embraced the cause of HPV.

Keerti Shah, Professor Emeritus of Molecular Microbiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he had been a Faculty member since 1963.

Keerti was a pioneer in our field with major contributions to the epidemiological and molecular evidence that established the role of high-risk HPV in cervical cancer and to the evidence that laryngeal papillomatosis was caused by HPV 6 and 11.

Keerti was a very special person in HPV basic and clinical research and in teaching. He contributed very prominently to our understanding of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis through his research and clinical contacts at Johns Hopkins and through the generations of students and fellows whom he mentored. Keerti was also the lead organizer of a distinguished group of Hopkins faculty and staff for the 12th IPV Conference held in Baltimore in September 1993. Of special note, the Baltimore meeting started the first of the Clinical Workshops that have been a tradition of the IPV Conferences ever since.”

He was indeed a very special person, humane, humorous and generous with his time and expertise, he is a loss to us all.

Dr A Bennett (Ben) Jenson died peacefully at the age of 80 on December 23rd 2019 in Louisville Kentucky.  Ben was a major figure in the papillomavirus community who performed crucial studies in the 1990’s using the canine oral papillomavirus (COPV) animal model, a mucosa-trophic papillomavirus of dogs  He and his collaborators demonstrated that immunisation with COPV L1 VLPs completely protected against high dose COPV challenge and the development of oral warts.  These were crucial studies in the development of prophylactic HPV vaccines providing proof of principle that systemic immunisation with L1 VLPs could protect against papilloma virus infection of squamous mucosal surfaces.

Ben had a great and sometimes, wicked sense of humour, accompanied by an irresistible twinkle in his eye but also a kind heart and generous spirit.  He had a fine thinking mind that looked for innovative approaches to papillomavirus science.  He was by training and profession a Board Certified histopathologist and this fundamental understanding of disease processes and how they presented informed his scientific work.  He was a personal friend and one who made very significant contributions to our field.  He will be sadly missed, he is a loss to us all.

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, the papillomavirus research community lost a highly esteemed colleague, Prof. Dr. Karl Ulrich Petry to cancer at the age of 62. A medical student at the Philipps-University in Marburg (1975-1983), Dr. Petry obtained his physician’s license in 1983, later became assistant at the Dept. of Surgery in Remscheid, and ultimately found his mission at the Dept. of ObGyn at the Diakonissen-Krankenhaus in Kassel.

Dr. Petry’s early career took him to Tanzania, where in 1986 he began working as a medical officer at the Sokoine Regional Hospital in Lindi. His focus on gynecology led to research in the field of HIV, schistosomiasis and other infectious diseases.

In 1989, Dr. Petry returned to Germany to the Gynecological Clinic of the Hanover Medical School (MHH), where he set up and ran the dysplasia consultation unit from 1990 onward. He studied the role of HPV in the development of gynecological neoplasia, developed new therapeutic procedures and conducted research on the role of immunodeficiency. In 1992, Dr. Petry completed his medical doctorate specializing in gynecology and obstetrics and became a senior physician at the gynecological clinic of the MHH in 1995. In 2000, Dr. Petry received the Venia Legendi award for “Gynecology and Obstetrics” (Habilitation). Since 2003, Dr. Petry has been Chief Physician of the Gynecological Oncology Clinic at the Wolfsburg Clinic. In 2005, Petry was appointed APL Professor at the Hanover Medical School.

Despite tremendous clinical responsibility, Prof. Dr. Petry successfully continued his scientific work as well, which focused on the use of HPV testing to improve the prevention of cervical cancer. This work was visionary. In 1999, under his direction and in cooperation with various health insurance companies, the first German HPV screening project was started (the Wolfsburg Primary HPV Screening project: WOLPHSCREEN). This pilot involved more than 30 office-based gynecological practices and 25,000 women (30+ years of age) and became the blueprint for the new screening directive in Germany which began this year. Dr. Petry’s work in cervical screening in combination with HPV vaccination programs serve to ensure that cervical cancer can be virtually eliminated in a few decades. His scientific efforts earned him numerous national and international awards and sponsorship. We are deeply saddened to have lost not only a great scientist but also a wonderful colleague.

It is with great sadness that we communicate the passing of Dr Paula Gonzalez Maya (1975-2020), after a long and brave battle against lung cancer. After arriving from her native Colombia, she worked as an HPV epidemiologist in Costa Rica for nearly 20 years.

Paula began her research activities in 2001 as part of the Guanacaste Natural History Study and conducted important research on the immune response to HPV, particularly among older women. She participated as an investigator in the Costa Rica HPV Vaccine Trial (2004-present) and was the Costa Rican principal investigator in the ongoing ESCUDDO trial, evaluating alternative schedules for HPV vaccines. She developed strong collaborations with the NCI in the United States and IARC in France, where she spent time as a post-doctoral fellow and a scientist, respectively. During her stay at IARC she contributed actively to protocol development for the ESTAMPA study, investigating triage methods for HPV positive women in Latin America.

Later in Costa Rica, she founded ACIB (Costa Rican Agency for Biomedical Research) and developed a large research group, which continues to conduct ESCUDDO and other studies in collaboration with NCI. Her strong scientific leadership, enthusiasm, kindness and sense of humor will be missed by all of us who shared work and life with her.

Paula passing is a tremendous loss for the future of scientific research in Latin America. She is survived by her loving children Camilo and Catalina, and her parents and brothers