Lise Thiry

Researcher in Virology / Microbiology; social medicine
Stamp design: Portrait and a schematic drawing of the HIV/AIDS virus.

Belgium (2007), Scott 2259c

Lise Thiry was born Februrary 5, 1921 in Liege, Belgium. During the Second World War, she studied medicine at the University of Liege, graduating in 1946, one of three women in a class of 140 students. She then began as a researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Brussels, specializing in microbiology and virology. In 1951, she participated in the creation of the Virology Department at the Institute, working with a rabies virus, poliomyelitis, and genital herpes viruses. She developed a system of screening and tracking the AIDS virus, and was President of the Scientific Council for Prevention of HIV/AIDS.

She joined the Faculty of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and was appointed a professor. She was also co-founder of GERM (Groupe d'Etude Pour Une Reforme de la Medecine), the study group for medical reform. In 1973, she campaigned in the socialist party for the decriminalization of abortion. In 1985, she was elected to the Senate and received the title of "Woman of the Year". In 1990, she took part at a commission to evaluate the effects of the new law relating to "the termination of pregnancy", of which she was one of the writers.

She was also involved in the rights of asylum seekers in Belgium, and illegal immigrants. She wrote a book, Conversations with the Clandestine Ones (2002), as well as scientific publications on viruses and research.

In 2005, when Israeli troops withdrew from the Gaza Strip, she and give other women in the medical profession visited and evaluated the health needs of Palestine, and other social medicine problems.

Written by Dr. Gwen P.