In Remembrance

The ACTG is deeply saddened to have lost two invaluable colleagues this month:

Kevin Robertson, PhD, Professor of Neurology and the director of the AIDS Neurological Center at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, was a dedicated investigator and passionate mentor in the ACTG, past chair of the Neurology Collaborative Science Group, and protocol team chair and member for several important studies. Kevin led global research initiatives in neurological complications of HIV and trained clinicians and researchers all over the world to establish research capacity in neuropsychological testing in Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria, India, Thailand, Peru, and Zimbabwe. He was passionate about studying the relationships among HIV cognitive disorders, ART and inflammation, and HIV persistence in the CNS. Most recently, he was the co-first author on “Persistent HIV-infected cells in cerebrospinal fluid are associated with poorer neurocognitive performance,” a Journal of Clinical Investigation paper highlighted below. We will miss Kevin’s brilliant mind and sharp wit, his thoughtfulness, respect for colleagues, and enduring commitment to mentoring young investigators around the world.

Dr. Charles (Charlie) van der Horst led the University of North Carolina (UNC) ACTG site until 2002 and served in multiple leadership roles in the network until his retirement in 2014. Charlie was a dedicated clinician and activist investigator who made important contributions to studies to improve treatment and prevention for opportunistic infections, most notably cryptococcal meningitis and PCP. He was committed to the expansion of ART to underserved populations from rural North Carolina to southern Africa. He led one of the largest single-center studies of prevention of vertical transmission (in Malawi), and he and his trainees improved treatments for cryptococcal infection around the globe. Charlie was a driving force in the efforts to establish an international component of the ACTG network in 2000. Charlie will be remembered for his compassion and commitment and for his unrelenting desire to make the world a better place for all.