David Baltimore, former president of the California Institute of Technology (1997-2006), is President Emeritus, the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology, and is one of the world’s most influential biologists. He has contributed widely to the understanding of cancer, AIDS and the molecular basis of the human body’s immune response and has profoundly influenced national science policy on such issues as the AIDS epidemic and research in genetic engineering. In 1975 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research into viral replication that provided the key to understanding the life cycle of retroviruses. His present research focuses on control of inflammatory and immune responses as well as on the use of gene therapy methods to treat HIV and cancer in a program called “Engineering Immunity.” In addition, he co-directs the Joint Center for Translational Medicine, an activity that joins Caltech and UCLA in a program to translate basic science discoveries into clinical realities.
He has played an important role in the development of American biotechnology since his involvement in the 1970s in the formation of Collaborative Genetics. He helped found other companies, most recently Calimmune and Immune Design and presently serves on the Board of Directors at several companies and non-profits including the Broad Foundation and the Broad institute, and Amgen and Regulus Therapeutics. He is a scientific advisor to the Ragon Institute and the biotech company Pacific Biosciences. He is a Science Partner to the venture capital firm The Column Group and until recently, was a Director of the Swiss investment company BB Biotech. He is past-Chair of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and was most recently named Riken Honorary Fellow. He is the 1999 recipient of the National Medal of Science and he has published more than 650 peer-reviewed articles.