Scientists on the frontline of cure research

Steve Deeks

Steven Deeks, MD

Steven Deeks is a professor of medicine at UCSF. He codirects the SCOPE cohort, which has supported more than 100 cure-related research programs. He has directed or codirected several cure-related interventional studies and is principal investigator in an NIH-funded international collaboration, the Delaney AIDS Research Enterprise, aimed at developing therapeutic interventions to cure HIV infection. He co-chairs the International AIDS Society's Towards an HIV Cure initiative, was part of the original amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication, and is active in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group. In addition to his clinical and translational investigations, Dr. Deeks maintains a primary care clinic for HIV-infected patients.

Warner C. Greene, MD, PhD

Research by Warner Greene has provided new insights into how CD4 T cells die during HIV infection and new approaches to curing HIV infection. He is the founding director and the Nick and Sue Hellmann Distinguished Professor of Translational Medicine at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, and he codirects the UCSF-Gladstone Center for AIDS Research. As president and executive chair of the Accordia Global Health Foundation, he helped establish the Infectious Diseases Institute at Makerere University in Uganda, which has trained thousands of health-care workers, is caring for 20,000 HIV-infected patients and has brought health care to nearly 500,000 people living in remote rural regions.

Peter W. Hunt, MD

Peter Hunt is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Experimental Medicine at UCSF and chair of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group’s Inflammation and End Organ Disease Transformative Science Group. His research focuses on the inflammatory consequences of HIV infection and seeks to understand the causes and consequences of persistent immune activation in both the presence and absence of antiretroviral therapy. In July, 2016, he also started a laboratory to identify the determinants of persistent adaptive immune defects in treated HIV infection, which likely contribute to infectious and neoplastic complications and may also serve as barriers to HIV cure.

Dr. Jay Levy
Jay A. Levy, MD

Jay Levy is an AIDS and cancer researcher and professor in the UCSF School of Medicine, where he directs the Laboratory for Tumor and AIDS Virus Research. For 30-plus years, his efforts have been dedicated to research on AIDS. In 1983 he independently discovered HIV, which he originally called the AIDS-associated retrovirus (ARV). In recent years, his laboratory has pursued three directions toward controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic: immune-based therapy, vaccine development and an HIV cure. His cure research—inspired by Timothy Brown, the first person to be cured of AIDS—attempts, with genetic editing, to delete from human stem cells the expression of CCR5, the major receptor of HIV.

Satish Pillai, PhD

Satish Pillai, associate investigator at Vitalant and associate professor of laboratory medicine at UCSF, led research to demonstrate precisely how interferon attacks HIV at the molecular level in vivo. The discovery advanced efforts to enhance the body's defense mechanisms, especially its production of restriction factors that potently suppress HIV replication. This led to his team's recent discovery that interferon-mediated immune factors play an important role in determining the size of the latent HIV reservoir in HIV-infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy. Researchers have since been exploring how to manipulate interferon-mediated immunity to help flush the virus from latently infected cells.