David Da-i Ho (Chinese: 何大一; born November 3, 1952) is a Taiwanese-American medical doctor and HIV/AIDS researcher who was born in Taiwan and has made many innovative state of the art scientific contributions to the understanding and technological treatment of HIV infection. He is the scientific director and chief executive officer of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and the Irene Diamond Professor at Rockefeller University in New York City.
David Ho was born in Taichung, Taiwan, to Paul (何步基 Hé Bùjī, an engineer) and Sonia Ho (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 He attended and graduated from John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, CA. He received his bachelor of science in physics with highest honors from the California Institute of Technology (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 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 at the forefront of AIDS research for three decades. He published over 400 papers (cited June 2011), enabling the scientific community to understand the mechanism of HIV replication. He championed the combination anti-retroviral therapy which had earlier been developed by scientists at NIAID and Merck. This approach allowed the control of HIV replication in patients.
Ho's research team is 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. In a June 13, 2011 interview with Asian Scientist Magazine, he discusses his team's progress with Ibalizumab, the antibody his team is developing for HIV vaccination with support from the Gates Foundation.
Ho keeps good relations with the Taiwanese government in Taiwan and the top scientific research institution of Taiwan, Academia Sinica. He has been playing an important role in the state-sponsored research and development of biotechnology in Taiwan.
Ho has received numerous honors and awards for his scientific accomplishments. He is the recipient of 12 honorary doctorates, including those from Columbia University and Tsinghua University. On January 8, 2001, he was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Clinton.
Ho was the chosen commencement speaker at Caltech, MIT, and Harvard School of Public Health.[when?] 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.
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. 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 former 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 disease-fighting scientists including Ho, but the title ultimately went to Albert Einstein.
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.
Ho and his wife, artist Susan Kuo Ho, live in New York and have three children: Kathryn, Jonathan, and Jaclyn.
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