Douglas Richman, M.D.

Director, Center for AIDS Research
University of California, San Diego

Douglas Richman, M.D., is one of the pioneers in HIV research. His laboratory was the first to identify HIV drug resistance. Richman is distinguished professor of pathology and medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and the Florence Seeley Riford Chair in AIDS Research.

He is director of the Center for AIDS Research at UCSD, Director of the UCSD AIDS Research Institute and physician at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

In 2015, Richman received the A. Brad Truax Award for his extraordinary achievements in HIV/AIDS research.

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 UCSD in 1976.

After Richman’s laboratory identified 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.

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.

Another area of investigation includes the many virological and host determinants of HIV transmission; this knowledge is central for the development of an effective HIV vaccine. Additional virologic investigations include studies of HIV drug resistance and the pathogenetic consequences of virus replication in anatomic compartments.

The top priority of Richman’s laboratory is the latent HIV reservoir and strategies to achieve eradication of this reservoir. Of particular interest is the development of assays to measure this reservoir in various compartments of the body and in the various subsets of CD4 lymphocytes in order to characterize the targets of intervention strategies and to measure the impact of these interventions reliably.