As you know from our several conversations over the past few days, I am planning to develop a small program in this laboratory
to study the molecular biology of hepatitis B virus. We have had extensive experience working with RNA tumor viruses (avian
sarcoma virus and mouse mammary tumor virus), with emphasis upon a detailed molecular description of the synthesis and integration
of virus-specific DNA, as well as production of viral RNA and protein. During the next two years (the second of which I will
be spending on sabbatical leave in London), I hope to develop an approach to studying the replication of HBV in similar detail;
I expect that a significant portion of my laboratory will be devoted to HBV research by the time of my return in mid-1979.
I think there are several ways in which we can be of assistance to each other. First, and most obviously, I am encouraged
by your kind offer to help me obtain specimen and healthy carriers positive for Dane particles. Secondly, I am pleased to
have access to the intellectual resources and wide clinical and laboratory experience of the interdisciplinary group you have
assembled over the past few years; I hope to be able to participate actively in your collective deliberations and ventures.
In return, I hope I can be of use to your and your colleagues by making assays for viral DNA and DMA polymerase readily available;
these may be useful in both your proposed epidemiological or HBeAG studies. In the not too distant future, I hope we can
consider more ambitious collaborative studies - e.g., correlations of protein and nucleic acid sequences, of antigenic subtype
and genotype defined by restriction endonuclease mapping, or of viral gene expression and hepatic histopathology.
If all goes well in the pilot studies I have planned, I expect to be applying for support (to commence in 1979) for my HBV
research. In the meantime, I shall be very grateful for the materials and advice you have offered me, as well as for the
laboratory space you have permitted me to use until I can arrange for suitable facilities in my own laboratory for working
with this agent.