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Heads of Laboratories

Head shot of David Ho
David D. Ho, M.D.
Senior Physician
Irene Diamond Professor
Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center
Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center

Ho has spent decades researching the pathogenesis of HIV infection, in particular the dynamics of HIV replication, and his work has led to the development of life-prolonging combination antiretroviral therapy. Currently, his group focuses on developing vaccines as well as other innovative prevention strategies. As head of the China AIDS Initiative, Ho seeks to comprehensively address the HIV/AIDS crisis in that country.

The Ho lab has been actively engaged in AIDS research for 36 years and has published more than 400 papers on the subject. The lab’s work helped pioneer the field of HIV quantitation in infected people. In the last decade, his research team extended this work and revolutionized the paradigm for AIDS pathogenesis by demonstrating the highly dynamic nature of HIV replication in vivo. Their elegant studies on HIV dynamics formed the foundation for combination antiretroviral therapy, which Ho also helped to champion. Such a treatment approach has transformed a death sentence to a manageable disease and is now being applied widely throughout the developing world.

A major focus of the Ho lab today is the design and testing of candidate vaccines to induce immune responses that could block HIV transmission. The team is currently pursuing multiple vaccine strategies, and manipulating the viral envelope glycoprotein to determine whether neutralizing antibodies could be induced.

Under a Vaccine Discovery Center grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ho’s latest focus is a unique approach to HIV prevention. He and his colleagues are studying the passive administration of a humanized monoclonal antibody, ibalizumab, that potently and broadly blocks HIV infection by binding to domain 2 of human CD4, the principal receptor for HIV. Ibalizumab is being tested in clinical studies in HIV-infected individuals, showing a good safety profile and a well-documented antiviral effect, and is also being studied as a prophylactic in uninfected subjects. In addition, the lab has constructed second-generation forms of this antibody that offer improved antiviral potency and breadth, and enhanced pharmacokinetic properties.

Moreover, many bispecific antibodies have been constructed and tested, several of which have unprecedented breadth and potency against HIV. Ho’s group is also pursuing the use of gene transfer methods to express in vivo antibodies that might be of use in HIV prevention.

In addition, Ho and colleagues are actively studying long-acting antiretroviral drugs that are promising as prophylactics against HIV.


B.S., 1974
California Institute of Technology

M.D., 1978
Harvard Medical School


Residency in internal medicine, 1978–1982
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine

Clinical and research fellowship, 1982–1985
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School


Instructor, 1985–1986
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Assistant Professor in Residence, 1986–1989
Associate Professor in Residence, 1989–1990
University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine

Professor, 1990–1996
New York University School of Medicine

Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer, 1990–
Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center

Professor, 1996–
The Rockefeller University

Senior Physician, 1996–
The Rockefeller University Hospital

Director and Professor, 2007–
Comprehensive AIDS Research Center, Tsinghua University


Ernst Jung Prize, 1991

New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, 1993

Squibb Award, Infectious Diseases Society of America, 1996

Man of the Year, Time magazine, 1996

Scientific Honoree, New York Academy of Medicine, 1998

Hoechst Marion Roussel Award, 1999

Edward Ahrens Award, 2001

Presidential Citizens Medal, 2001

Inductee, California Hall of Fame, 2006

Prince Mahidol Award, 2014


National Academy of Medicine
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Academia Sinica, Taiwan


Andrews, C.D. et al. A long-acting integrase inhibitor protects female macaques from repeated high-dose intravaginal SHIV challenge. Sci. Transl. Med. 7, 270ra4 (2015).

Andrews, C.D. et al. Long-acting integrase inhibitor protects macaques from intrarectal simian/human immunodeficiency virus. Science 343, 1151–1154 (2014).

Song, R. et al. Strategic addition of an N-linked glycan to a monoclonal antibody improves its HIV-1-neutralizing activity. Nat. Biotechnol. 31, 1047–1052 (2013).

Pace, C.S. et al. Bispecific antibodies directed to CD4 domain 2 and HIV envelope exhibit exceptional breadth and picomolar potency against HIV-1. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110, 13540–13545 (2013).

Song, R. et al. Epitope mapping of ibalizumab, a humanized anti-CD4 monoclonal antibody with anti-HIV-1 activity in infected patients. J. Virol. 84, 6935–6942 (2010).

Dr. Ho is a faculty member in the David Rockefeller Graduate Program and the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program.