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David Da-i Ho ( ; born November 3, 1952) is a Taiwanese American AIDS researcher famous for pioneering the use of protease inhibitors in treating HIV-infected patients with his team.

Biography

Born in Taichungmarker, Taiwanmarker to Paul (an engineer) and Sonia Ho, from Jiangximarker Province who fled to Taiwan from the Mainland in 1949, David Ho immigrated at the age of twelve to the United Statesmarker with his mother and younger brother to unite with his father, who had already been in the US for nine years. He grew up in Los Angelesmarker and received his bachelor of science in physics with highest honors from the California Institute of Technologymarker (1974) 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 UCLAmarker School of Medicine (1978-1982) and Massachusetts General Hospitalmarker (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.

Living in Chappaqua, New Yorkmarker, Ho is married to artist Susan Kuo, with whom he has three children: Kathryn, Jonathan, and Jaclyn. He is a member of the Committee of 100, a Chinese American leadership organization, in addition to several scientific groups.

Research

Ho has been at the forefront of AIDS research for 26 years. He published over 350 papers, enabling the scientific community to understand the mechanism of HIV replication. He championed the combination anti-retroviral therapy which allowed the control of HIV replication in patients. AIDS mortality has declined six times in developed countries since 1996, and international efforts are under way to bring the treatment to patients in the developing world.

Ho shifted his work from treating late in the illness to finding ways to fight the disease early on. Ho helped devise the HAART or highly active anti-retroviral therapy, which prescribes a cocktail of drugs to treat AIDS, on the theory that it would be more effective to combine powerful protease inhibitors with other HIV medications.

Ho’s research team is now working on developing vaccines for AIDS. He heads a consortium of organization in China and the U.S. to address the crisis of HIV/AIDS in China.

Honors and titles

Ho has received numerous honors and awards for his scientific accomplishments. He is the recipient of ten honorary doctorates, including from Swarthmore, Tufts, Columbia, Tulane, University of Natal, and Tsinghua University. He has been chosen as the commencement speaker at Caltech, MIT, and Harvard School of Public Health. Other accolades include the Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine, Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science & Technology, the Squibb Award, and the Hoechst Marion Roussel Award. On January 8, 2001, Ho was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Clinton.

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. He was a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University and the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology. He is a board member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Corporation.

Ho was Time magazine's 1996 Man of the Year. Time later recalled the selection surprised both Ho and readers, with one reader calling Ho "Dr. David Who?" The magazine acknowledged in 1996 that "Ho is not, to be sure, a household name. But some people make headlines while others make history." 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 scientists including Ho, but the title ultimately went to Albert Einstein.

Ho has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciencesmarker, Academia Sinica, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy. He is currently the scientific director and chief executive officer of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and the Irene Diamond Professor at the Rockefeller Universitymarker in New Yorkmarker.

On 2006-12-06, 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.

Quotes

  • "This is a problem for the world and therefore we're going to solve it."


  • "I began with an interest in this medical curiosity, never realizing that this was going to be a big health problem for the public. But, the scientific aspect was extremely interesting in that here we were looking at something that was transmissible, capable of destroying the immune system. That was new and one way or another the science behind that would shed light on bugs and on the immune system. So, I was gung-ho from day one of the epidemic."


Sources



References

  1. (Nature 1995; Science 1996)
  2. (N. Engl. J. Med. 1995; Science 1996)
  3. (Nature 1997)
  4. Time, Person of the Year: 75th Anniversary Celebration, Special Collector's Edition, Time Books, 2002, p. 108.
  5. Time Millennium, Collector's Edition, Time Inc. Specials, p. 21.


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