April 21, 1945

(Montreal, Québec)


April 11, 2017


PhD, Columbia University (1972)

Awards & Honours:

2015: Murray Award of the Canadian Society of Microbiology

2014: Cubist-ASM Award, American Society for Microbiology

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Picture of Mark Wainberg

Involved in the discovery of life-saving antiviral drugs

Portrait of Mark Wainberg

HIV research pioneer and public health advocate

When the AIDS crisis began, this disease was at once baffling and almost uniformly fatal. Now, decades later, thanks to the work of scientists like Mark Wainberg, AIDS is now treatable, survivable and increasingly controlled in much of the world. Mark Wainberg revolutionized our understanding of HIV/AIDS at medical, epidemiological and political levels. He served as the director of the McGill University AIDS Centre at the Jewish General Hospital until his untimely death in a swimming accident.

Key Facts

Involved in the identification of lamivudine (3TC) as an antiviral drug that is now one of the most widely used drugs in the treatment of HIV

Discovered the problem of HIV drug resistance

As President of the International AIDS Society, in 2000 he moved the International Conference on AIDS from Canada to South Africa resulting in unprecedented international attention on the lack of access to anti-HIV drugs in Africa

Turned his attention to achieving a cure for HIV infection based on the possibility that HIV may not be able to become resistant to certain new compounds that block viral replication

Frequently contributed Op-Ed articles on the subject of HIV/AIDS to Canadian and international newspapers and published over 500 scientific articles

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

The fight against HIV/AIDS continues throughout the world. Mark Wainberg, working with his national and international colleagues, significantly advanced the day when AIDS may finally be eradicated. His development of successful antiviral drugs, and his tireless advocacy that those drugs reach all populations, has left the world ever closer to managing the AIDS crisis.

Picture of Mark Wainberg


  • Dr. Wainberg at the podium

    Mark Wainberg inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Hamilton, Ontario

  • The annual Mark Wainberg Lectureship was created at the Canadian Association of HIV Research’s annual conference

  • While president of the International AIDS Society, Dr. Wainberg organized and co-chaired the first International Conference on HIV Microbicides in Washington DC

    Global Health

  • Under Dr. Wainberg’s leadership, the XIIIth International Conference on AIDS took place in Durban, South Africa

    Global Health

  • Dr. Wainberg established the Journal of the International AIDS Society

    Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy

    He created the journal, in part, to feature both AIDS research in lower and middle income countries as well as the research authored by scientists in those countries.

  • For two years, Dr. Wainberg served as Chairman of the Working Group of AIDS Research and Related Subjects for the National Advisory Committee on AIDS

    He later became President of the Canadian Association for HIV Research.

  • In collaboration with BioChem Pharma Inc., Dr. Mark Wainberg and his team identified 3TC as an anti-viral drug

    Infectious Disease, Allergy & Immunity

    The discovery gave hope to many at a time when few options existed for HIV treatment.

  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report describing several cases of rare lung infection in five young, previously health, gay men in LA

    This document is now recognized as the first official reporting of the AIDS epidemic.

  • Returned from post-doctoral studies in Israel to take up a position at McGill University and as an independent investigator at the Lady David Institute of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal


He was always an advocate…he raised awareness of HIV related issues here and around the world.