Interviewer: Hello Professor Walker,
thank you very much for
sparing the time today to do this
interview, it is much appreciated.
Prof. Walker: Happy to be here.
Interviewer: Today we'll be talking
about your work in the field of HIV and
specifically your work
with 'elite controllers',
people who maintain low levels of
the HIV virus without treatment.
what is it that drew you to this field?
Prof. Walker: My career path actually
did not go in the direction that I
anticipated it would,
I had done some research in college
when I was majoring in chemistry.
I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do,
during the course of that research I came
to the slow realization that there were
probably two people in the world
interested in what I was doing and
I was not one of them,
it was just a little too esoteric for me.
I then had some exposure to the medical
field and decided that what I really
wanted to do was become a physician and
take care of patients.
I went to medical school and
chose internal medicine as a specialty,
I finished medical school and
went to Mass General where I expected that
the physicians there would know
everything about every disease.
I was very excited to be there,
and as I started my internship,
I expected that the physicians there would
know everything about every disease.
About six months into my internship,
I encountered a patient
in the emergency room with a disease
that I had never seen before and
none of the senior doctors
had ever seen before either.
It was a young gentleman who
had multiple infections and
cancers all at the same time,
he was quite acutely ill on top of
some underlying chronic illness that
nobody understood and he rapidly died.
The senior doctors said that we'd probably
never see another case like that,