Professor Baron Peter Piot
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Baron Peter Piot may not be a household name but his work as a microbiologist certainly is.
As a postgraduate student in Antwerp, he was a member of the team that discovered the Ebola virus in 1976, and through his work in the 1980s is widely credited with providing science’s understanding of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa. Later roles included a stint as the founding executive director of UNAIDS and under-secretary-general of the UN from 1995 until 2008.
Since becoming director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 2010, he has led the school in developing its 10:10 campaign, designed to reduce its carbon emissions 90% by 2040. He has also led the school’s expansion in research income to £92 million per year, and has overseen the launch of a series of free online courses used by more than 25,000 students globally. Part of Peter’s passion is to ensure that global health is not a subject merely confined to medicine and health science courses.
He believes that global health must be taught beyond its current confines of medical science and approached in a multidisciplinary way. As a topic that affects all disciplines, from economics to politics, Peter is keen to see global health taught in business schools and other higher education settings.
Peter has published more than 550 scientific articles and 16 books, and was named as one of TIME Magazine’s People of the Year 2014 for his pioneering work on Ebola.