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David Ho
Born (1952-11-03) November 3, 1952 (age 70)
Other namesDavid Da-i Ho
EducationCalifornia Institute of Technology (BS)
Harvard–MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (MD)
  • Doctor
  • Medical Researcher
  • Scientist
Employer(s)Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, Columbia University
Known forHIV/AIDS research
PartnerTera Man Wong
David Ho

David Da-i Ho (Chinese: 何大一; born November 3, 1952) is a Taiwanese-American AIDS researcher, physician, and virologist who has made a number of scientific contributions to the understanding and treatment of HIV infection.[1][2][3][4][5] He championed for combination anti-retroviral therapy instead of single therapy,[6][7] which turned HIV from absolute terminal disease into a chronic disease.[8]

He is the founding scientific director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and the Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

David Ho was born in Taichung, Taiwan, to Paul (何步基; Hé Bùjī), an engineer, and Sonia Ho (née Jiang) (江雙如; Jiāng Shuāngrú).

David Ho attended Taichung Municipal Guang-Fu Elementary School until sixth grade before immigrating to the United States with his mother and younger brother to unite with his father, who had already been in the US since 1957. He grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from John Marshall High School. He received his Bachelor of Science in biology with highest honors from the California Institute of Technology (1974)[9] and MD from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (1978). Subsequently, he did his clinical training in internal medicine and infectious diseases at UCLA School of Medicine (1978–1982) and Massachusetts General Hospital (1982–1985), respectively. He was a resident in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1981 when he came into contact with some of the first reported cases of what was later identified as AIDS.


Ho has been engaged in HIV/AIDS research since the beginning of the pandemic, initially focusing on clinical virology and select topics in HIV pathogenesis, including HIV drug resistance. Before 1996, AZT[7] and other early 1990s antiretroviral medication were prescribed in single therapy, which still did not prevent progression to fatal full-blown AIDS.[7][10] In the mid 1990s, his research team conducted a series of elegant human studies to elucidate the dynamics of HIV replication in vivo.[11] This knowledge, in turn, formed the foundation for their pioneering effort to treat HIV "early and hard"[7] and in demonstrating for the first time the durable control of HIV replication in patients receiving combination antiretroviral therapy,[12][13] which had subsequently developed by scientists at NIAID and Merck.[14] This was the turning point in the epidemic that an automatic death sentence was transformed into a manageable disease.[15][11]

For the past decade and a half, Ho has shifted his research focus to developing strategies to prevent HIV transmission. A protective vaccine against HIV remains elusive despite concerted research efforts. However, Ho has been leading non-vaccine approaches to block HIV transmission that have shown considerable promise. His group was the first to demonstrate protective efficacy of a long-acting antiretroviral drug as pre-exposure prophylaxis in rhesus macaques. In fact, one such agent, cabotegravir, has recently completed Phase-3 efficacy trials in high-risk populations, in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline. In parallel, Ho's group has also engineered exquisitely potent antibodies that neutralize divergent strains of HIV. The most promising neutralizing agent is a bispecific monoclonal antibody that entered a first-in-human clinical trial in 2019 with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Ho Lab is funded by two NIH grants to pursue the use of engineered antibodies to purge the viral latent reservoir as a part of the international HIV cure effort.

Ho has published more than 500 research papers as of February 2020.[16]

Ho is a member of the Committee of 100, a Chinese American leadership organization, in addition to several scientific groups.[11]

Ho is currently leading a team, funded by Jack Ma Foundation, to look for a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus[17] and believes that other treatments that may become effective against COVID-19 should be examined.[18]

Honors and titles

Ho was Time magazine's 1996 Man of the Year. Time later recalled the selection surprised both Ho and readers[19][20][21] The magazine acknowledged in 1996 that "Ho is not, to be sure, a household name. But some people make headlines while others make history."[19] As of 2020, Ho is the last person to be selected as Person of the Year in a U.S. presidential election year without winning that year's U.S. presidential election. In 1998, he received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[22][23] Ho was even briefly mentioned when Alexander Fleming was considered for Person of the Century in 1999, since Fleming could be portrayed as representative of other disease-fighting scientists including Ho,[24] but the title ultimately went to Albert Einstein.

Ho was the chosen commencement speaker at Caltech,[25] MIT,[26] and Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in 2000.

Ho has received numerous honors and awards for his scientific accomplishments. On January 8, 2001, he was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Clinton.[27][28]

On December 6, 2006, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Ho into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts.[29]

Ho was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by California Institute of Technology in 2015.[30] Ho received the Portrait of a Nation Prize at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution in 2017.[31]

Other accolades include the Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine,[32] Mayor's Award for Excellence in Science & Technology, the Squibb Award,[33] the Architect of Peace[34] and the Hoechst Marion Roussel Award.[35]

Ho has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academia Sinica (Taiwan), and the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine).[11] He is currently a member of the board of trustees of the California Institute of Technology.[36] He was a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University and a board member of the MIT Corporation.[37][11]

He is the recipient of 14 honorary doctorates, including those from Columbia University and Tsinghua University.

He is also a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.[11] Ho is an honorary professor at Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Wuhan University, and Fudan University in China.

Ho was recognized by the Kingdom of Thailand with the Prince Mahidol Award in Medicine.[38]

Ho was awarded Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence - Immunity by Hamdan Medical Award in 2022.

Personal life

Ho has three older children: Kathryn, Jonathan, and Jaclyn. He lives with his partner, Tera Wong, and their child, Jerren Ho. His family's ancestral home is Xinyu, Jiangxi Province.[39]

See also


  1. ^ Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) noted, "Without the contributions of Taiwanese Americans, we would lack the important AIDS research of Dr. David Ho. Archived September 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Formosan Association for Public Affairs, MAY 2000
  2. ^ The Taiwanese Americans, page 130-131
  3. ^ Taiwanese-American HIV/AIDS academic joins team, The Taipei Times, September 4, 2011
  4. ^ U.S. PUBLIC TV STATIONS TO BROADCAST TAIWAN TRAVEL FEATURES Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Government Information Office, Republic of China (Taiwan), December 27, 2006
  5. ^ Park, Alice (January 25, 2010). "Scientist David Ho: The Man Who Could Beat AIDS". Time. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  6. ^ (N. Engl. J. Med. 1995; Science 1996)
  7. ^ a b c d Ho, David (August 17, 1995). "Time to Hit HIV, Early and Hard". New England Journal of Medicine. 333 (7): 450–451. doi:10.1056/NEJM199508173330710. PMID 7616996. Archived from the original on March 25, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2023. ... zidovudine was shown in 1990 to slow the clinical progression to AIDS in infected but asymptomatic subjects. However, a follow-up of those subjects found no evidence of longer survival with the use of zidovudine...
  8. ^ Mahungu, Tabitha; Rodger, Alison; Johnson, Margaret (April 1, 2009). "HIV as a chronic disease". Clinical Medicine. 9 (2): 125–128. doi:10.7861/clinmedicine.9-2-125. PMC 4952661. PMID 19435115. Archived from the original on July 23, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  9. ^ "Caltech Commencement Program" (PDF). Caltech Campus Publications. June 14, 1974. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c d e f "MEMBERS | Committee of 100". Committee of 100. Archived from the original on July 2, 2022. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  12. ^ (Nature 1997)
  13. ^
    • "Interviews - David Ho - The Age Of Aids - Frontline". Frontline. PBS. May 30, 2006. Archived from the original on March 7, 2007. Retrieved January 29, 2023. ... if you start to combine the drugs and try to force the virus into a corner using multiple drugs, it is exceedingly difficult or statistically improbable for HIV to become resistant to all the drugs simultaneously.
    • "The Age of AIDS, Part II". Frontline. Season 24 (2006). Episode 11. May 31, 2006. Event occurs at 0:18:54. PBS. Retrieved January 31, 2023. ... However, if you start to combine the drugs and try to force the virus into a corner using multiple drugs, it is exceedingly difficult...for HIV to become resistant to all the drugs simultaneously. 
  14. ^ Gulick, Roy M.; Mellors, John W.; Havlir, Diane; Eron, Joseph J.; Gonzalez, Charles; McMahon, Deborah; Richman, Douglas D.; Valentine, Fred T.; Jonas, Leslie; Meibohm, Anne; Emini, Emilio A.; Chodakewitz, Jeffrey A.; Deutsch, Paul; Holder, Daniel; Schleif, William A.; Condra, Jon H. (1997). "Treatment with Indinavir, Zidovudine, and Lamivudine in Adults with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Prior Antiretroviral Therapy". New England Journal of Medicine. 337 (11): 734–739. doi:10.1056/NEJM199709113371102. PMID 9287228.
  15. ^ "Interviews - David Ho - The Age Of Aids - Frontline". Frontline. PBS. May 30, 2006. Archived from the original on March 7, 2007. Retrieved January 29, 2023. ... response with combination therapy was rather dramatic...we see some deathly ill patients totally recover after two to three weeks of good therapy...people got out of their deathbed after a few weeks of therapy.
  16. ^ (Nature 1995; Science 1996)
  17. ^ "COVID-19: Are We Close to a Novel Coronavirus Vaccine?".
  18. ^ March 14 2020 interview on Rachel Maddow Show
  19. ^ a b Time, Person of the Year: 75th Anniversary Celebration, Special Collector's Edition, Time Books, 2002, p. 108.
  20. ^ "1996 Man of the Year". Time Magazine Person of the Year. Time Magazine. Archived from the original on January 23, 2001.
  21. ^ Gorman, Christine (December 30, 1996). "Dr. David Ho: The Disease Detective". Time. Archived from the original on December 12, 2022. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  22. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement. Archived from the original on December 21, 2022. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  23. ^ "David Ho Interview -- Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement. Archived from the original on April 29, 2007.
  24. ^ Time Millennium, Collector's Edition, Time Inc. Specials, p. 21.
  25. ^ “Science as a Candle of Hope" David Ho Caltech Commencement Address in 1997
  26. ^ "AIDS researcher David Ho to be MIT commencement speaker". MIT News.
  27. ^ "The White House - President Clinton Awards the Presidential Citizens Medals Monday, January 8, 2001". Clinton White House. National Archives and Records Administration. January 8, 2001. Archived from the original on August 1, 2012.
  28. ^ Mo, Steven (June 13, 2011). "AIDS Research Pioneer, David Hoe, Talks To Asian Scientist Magazine". Asian Scientist.
  29. ^ "California Hall of Fame - California Museum". Archived from the original on August 4, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  30. ^ "Distinguished Alumni". Caltech Alumni Association. Archived from the original on May 2, 2002. ((cite web)): |archive-date= / |archive-url= timestamp mismatch (help)
  31. ^ "2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize Recipient: Dr. David Ho". National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian Institution. November 14, 2017. Archived from the original on November 19, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  32. ^ "Ernst Jung Prize". Archived from the original on May 16, 2022. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  33. ^ "David D. Ho, MD - Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC)". Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center. September 11, 2020. Archived from the original on January 7, 2023. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  34. ^ ":: David Ho | Architect of Peace". Archived from the original on April 18, 2010.
  35. ^ "2014 Distinguished Research Career Award | College of Veterinary Medicine - Center for Retrovirus Research". Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  36. ^ "Board of Trustees - Caltech Academic Catalog". California Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on September 7, 2022. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  37. ^ "Former Corporation Members - The MIT Corporation". Archived from the original on November 6, 2022. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  38. ^ "The Announcement for the Prince Mahidol Award 2013". Prince Mahidol Award Foundation. November 21, 2013.
  39. ^ "David Ho Credits His Achievements to Late Father|Culture|News|". Archived from the original on August 1, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2020.