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Director's biography

Douglas D. Richman, MD, is one of the pioneers in HIV research. His laboratory was the first to identify HIV drug resistance.

Douglas D. Richman, MD, is Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and the Florence Seeley Riford Chair in AIDS Research. He is Director of the Center for AIDS Research at UC San Diego, Director of the UC San Diego AIDS Research Institute, and staff physician at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.


Dr. Richman trained as an infectious disease physician and medical virologist at Stanford University, the National Institutes of Health, and Harvard University before joining the faculty at UC San Diego in 1976.

Early research

Dr. Richman's laboratory was the first to identify HIV drug resistance. The lab joined two others in identifying latently infected CD4 cells as the obstacle to eradication of HIV with potent antiretroviral therapy. His laboratory also described the dynamics of the neutralizing antibody response to HIV and the rapidity of viral escape and evolution in response to this selective pressure.

Current research

Dr. Richman's laboratory currently focuses on the natural history and molecular pathogenesis of HIV in a cohort of acutely infected patients. These studies include the cell mediated and neutralizing antibody immune responses to HIV and the viral escape and evolution in response to these. With regard to neutralization escape, the laboratory is investigating the epitopes that elicit the neutralizing antibody responses to autologous virus in human infections and the viral mutations that account for escape from these responses. The laboratory is also characterizing the epitopes that elicit the too infrequent, broadly reactive neutralizing responses in some patients. Another area of investigation includes the many virological and host determinants of HIV transmission; this knowledge central for the development of an effective HIV vaccine.

Addtional virologic investigations include studies of HIV drug resistance, the pathogenetic consequences of virus replication in anatomic compartments and viral latency. Blood plasma, latently infected CD4 T lymphocytes, genital secretions and cerebrospinal specimens are being obtained from patients who are well characterized clinically, virologically, and immunologically. These studies address important issues like selective pressures on the evolution of the HIV populations in different body compartments and pathogenesis. These investigations also have important clinical implications with regard to the natural history of disease and treatment.

Publications (PubMed)

CFAR Highlights

From June 2006 - April 2012, CFAR Core facilities contributed to more than 580 published manuscripts and more than 160 conference abstracts.