David Watkins, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, USA
David Watkins and his research team investigate novel ways to make an effective vaccine against HIV and treatments for the flaviviruses Zika, dengue and yellow fever. This work cuts across national boundaries, and includes a long-standing collaborations with groups from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Tokyo. Born in Uganda, Watkins grew up in Trinidad, and was educated in the United Kingdom. He earned his undergraduate degree in zoology and biology from Durham University in 1982, then came to the United States, where he received a Ph.D. in immunology at the University of Rochester. As a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, he studied the evolution of the immune system and started to develop his interest in the relationship between host genetics and disease. After joining the Harvard faculty in 1989, he moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992, where he started a program using the rhesus monkey to study simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection as an animal model to understand HIV-infected humans. In 2011 Dr. Watkins joined the faculty at the University of Miami. He currently uses animal models to study how some rare HIV-infected humans control replication of HIV, research that might provide insight into mechanisms for controlling the epidemic. More recently Dr. Watkins has extended his research interests into antibody-mediated prevention and treatment for flaviviruses.
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