Dr. David D. Ho

Presented by J. Michael Chu ’80, Trustee

AIDS researcher Dr. David D. Ho is known for designing experiments so precisely that they always provide “exactly the findings he needs to support or dismiss his surmises, which are always of consequence,” Esquire magazine wrote in 1999. This focused intelligence and an equally keen determination to reduce human suffering have made Ho preeminent in the battle against HIV/AIDS.

In 1995, Ho’s work was key to unlocking the secrets of HIV replication and the subsequent development of the combination drug therapy — the so-called drug cocktails — that has reduced U.S. and European AIDS deaths to one-fifth of their peak. Time Magazine named Ho its Man of the Year for this work in 1996, and he received a Presidential Medal in 2001. Ho is the Irene Diamond Professor at The Rockefeller University and is the founding scientific director and chief executive officer of the world-renowned Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, in New York City.

Ho continues to explore the development of an AIDS vaccine and therapies for HIV infection and heads a consortium of Chinese and American organizations addressing the crisis of HIV/AIDS in China. His numerous honors and awards include honorary doctorates and professorships, Germany’s Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine, the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology in New York City, the Squibb Award, and the Hoechst Marion Roussel Award. He served on Harvard’s board of overseers and currently sits on the governing boards of the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Corporation.

Born in Taiwan, Ho was 12 when his mother brought him and his brother to the United States to join their father, who was pursuing a graduate engineering degree. He received a bachelor of science degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1974 and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1978. Ho did clinical training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center/UCLA School of Medicine — where he saw some of the first cases identified as AIDS — and at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Ho will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.

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