Born in 1949, Baron Peter Piot is a microbiologist best known for his pioneering research on Ebola and AIDS. Piot has an impressive scientific track record. After graduating as a physician from Ghent University (UGent), he was one of the discoverers of the Ebola virus in what was Zaire in 1976. He went on to obtain a PhD in microbiology from the University of Antwerp and started working at the Institute of Tropical Medicine.
Following academic appointments at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Nairobi, the College de France in Paris, and Imperial College London, he became the Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine of the USA, the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and a fellow of the U.K. Academy of Medical Sciences.
Following groundbreaking research on HIV/ AIDS, mostly in Africa, Piot became the founding Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary General of the United Nations ( 1995- 2008). Under his leadership, UNAIDS became the chief advocate for worldwide action against AIDS.
Throughout his career, he has published about 600 scientific articles and 17 books, including a memoir entitled No Time to Lose which chronicles his professional work and the discovery of the Ebola virus. During his career, Piot received numerous scientific and civic awards, including the Calderon Prize, the Hideo Noguchi Medical Africa Prize for Medical Research, the Canada Gairdner Award ( Global Health), the Robert Koch Gold Medal, and in 2014 he was a Time Person of the Year “The Ebola Fighters”. He was made a Baron in 1995, and received an honorary knighthood KCMG in the U.K.
Piot is Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore. In 2020 he was appointed a Special Advisor on Covid-19 to the President of the European Commission.