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The Anatomy of an Epidemic

An AIDS Directory
This is a sampling of DMS faculty and alumni, in addition to those in the feature below, who are involved in HIV/AIDS research and clinical care.
Alumni are in light blue Faculty are in dark blue

Samuel Katz, DMS '50, a longtime faculty member at Duke, has been widely lauded for his contributions to children's health—including pediatric AIDS research and care. He serves on the NIH Committee for AIDS Vaccines and headed a WHO panel on diagnosing pediatric AIDS.

John Modlin helped establish the NIH's Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group and collaborated in the design of a study that demonstrated for the first time that maternal-to-infant transmission of HIV could be prevented by treating the mother with antiviral medication.

Thomas Clark, DMS '01, is on the faculty at the University of California at San Francisco. In 2002, he founded Grassroot Soccer, an international AIDS education organization that trains professional soccer players to teach teenagers about HIV and AIDS prevention.

Alexandra Howell headed a Dartmouth Medical School research team that in 1997 was the first group to demonstrate that HIV infects normal tissues throughout the female reproductive tract. She currently studies HIV infection and the immune response to HIV proteins. [See ERRATUM note below.]

Ann Collier, DMS '78, is on the faculty at the University of Washington and was the medical director, from 1987 to 1990, of Seattle's Harborview AIDS Clinic— one of the nation's first AIDS clinics. Her research interests include
complications of HIV treatment, the epidemiology of cytomegaloviruses, and antiretroviral trials.

Ruth Connor researches the transmission of HIV from mother to child during breastfeeding, evaluating various strains of lactobacillus bacteria that colonize the

In 1984, Saykin was offered the opportunity to work on a mysterious new disease. AIDS represented uncharted territory. "The etiology was just emerging," says Saykin, now a neurologist at DHMC. "It was a fatal disease."
He was touched by how cooperative and motivated the AIDS patients were.

infant gastrointestinal tract for their ability to protect against HIV infection acquired through breastfeeding.

Judith Currier, DMS '85, is on the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles, where she directs AIDS clinical trials. Her influential articles, including the "Female Face of AIDS: Preventing HIV Infections in Women," have helped expand AIDS research to include women.

Charles Wira (also DMS '70) investigates how hormones affect immunity in the female reproductive tract. He heads an NIH Program Project Grant on heterosexual transmission of HIV and is a member of two task forces at the NIH Office of AIDS Research. He is also a course director for DMS's DARDAR Project in Tanzania. [See ERRATUM note below.]

Susana Asin investigates when HIV-1 infection occurs in women following the heterosexual transmission of cellfree or cell-associated virus through the semen of an infected partner. [See ERRATUM note below.]

Peter Kilmarx, DMS '90, is an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Global AIDS Program. He previously worked for three years in Botswana as head of the U.S. government's anti-AIDS programs there, and before that for six years in Thailand.

Richard Waddell heads the New Hampshire AIDS Education and Training Center. He also is active internationally


  • The AIDS virus is traced back to chimpanzees in Africa.
  • WHO reports that AIDS is the fourth biggest killer worldwide.
  • The infection rate in Uganda has dropped from 30% in 1992 to 12% in 1999, thanks to educational initiatives.
  • UNAIDS estimates that 33 million people are now living with HIV/AIDS and that 2.6 million have died this year. More women than men are infected with HIV in Africa.


  • The International AIDS Conference (the 13th such gathering) is held in a developing nation (South Africa) for the first time.
  • President Clinton issues an executive order to help developing nations import and produce generic AIDS drugs.
  • The U.S. and the UN Security Council declare HIV/AIDS a global security threat, fearing that it could topple governments, spark ethnic wars, and undo decades of work building up free-market democracies.


  • President Bush appoints an openly gay man, Scott Evertz, as the director of the Office of National AIDS Policy but puts no extra money in the 2002 federal budget for AIDS prevention or treatment.
  • FDA warns AIDS drug-makers to lessen the optimistic tone of their antiretroviral ads.
  • China admits that HIV/AIDS threatens its public health and economic security.
  • AIDS is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa, and the rate of HIV infection is rising fastest in Eastern Europe and Russia.


  • About 50% of Americans still believe HIV can be acquired through everyday contact.
  • HIV is the leading cause of death worldwide among those aged 15 to 59.
  • The number of children orphaned by AIDS has tripled in six years, to 13.4 million.
  • UN Secretary General Kofi Annan speaks out on World AIDS Day against HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

CLARIFICATION: This directory of faculty and alumni involved in HIV/AIDS was an effort to encapsulate (in only 30 to 40 words each) contributions to research and care by 20-some individuals-historical milestones as well as recent work. That resulted in a few descriptions that did not clearly reflect some faculty members' current work. Alexandra Howell, since making the seminal 1997 finding described in the article, has studied heterosexual transmission of HIV, the influence of sex hormones on HIV infection, and the replication of HIV within the female reproductive tract. Charles Wira heads a National Institutes of Health Program Project Grant that is designed to increase knowledge of immune protection in the human female reproductive tract and provide information regarding the prevention of local infection in the genital mucosa; such knowledge will be useful in managing sexually transmitted diseases and in understanding heterosexual HIV transmission. And Susana Asin studies heterosexual HIV transmission, the influence of sex hormones and of inflammation triggered by sexually transmitted pathogens on HIV infection, and viral replication in the female reproductive tract.

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