Douglas D. Richman, M.D.

Douglas D. Richman, M.D.

  • Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Medicine
  • Director, The HIV Institute
  • Co-Director, San Diego Center for AIDS Research
  • Florence Seeley Riford Chair in AIDS Research
  • M.D. - Stanford University
  • Residency Training: Stanford University Hospitals
  • Post-doctoral Training:  Laboratory of infectious Diseases, NIAID/NIH, and Beth Israel and Children’s Hospitals, Harvard University, Boston, MA
  • Board Certifications: Internal Medicine; Infectious Diseases

Research Interests

Dr. Richman trained in infectious diseases and medical virology conducting research on influenza virus, herpesviruses and hemorrhagic fever viruses before focusing on HIV in the 1980s. HIV drug resistance was originally recognized in his laboratory in 1988. In addition to his continuing interest in HIV treatment and drug resistance, his research interests have focused on HIV pathogenesis including the issues of viral latency and evolution.

Dr. Richman has made major clinical and laboratory contributions to the field of HIV/AIDS, which represent a model of translational medical research. He helped design and conduct the clinical evaluation of new drugs and treatment strategies, including the first trial of combination antiretroviral therapy and the initial study documenting the value of the strategy of rendering HIV RNA undetectable.

Two areas of his laboratory investigations represent landmark studies in HIV research. His laboratory first identified HIV drug resistance. This was the scientific foundation for the development of combination antiretroviral therapies. Subsequent studies documented the impact of drug resistance on treatment failure, the presence of mixtures of different viral phenotypes and genotypes circulating in the same patient, the pre-existence of drug-resistant mutants in untreated patients, the impact of disease stage and viral replication on the rates of viral evolution, and the independent evolution of different populations of HIV in lymphoid tissues and the brain. These studies have had a broad impact on the development, evaluation and regulatory approval of drugs, and helped to establish the importance of drug resistance assays in the day-to-day management of infected patients.

His laboratory also documented the existence of reservoirs of latently infected CD4 cells in patients who appeared to be "fully suppressed" on potent antiretroviral therapy. These observations have raised fundamental questions about T lymphocyte biology and viral replication that bridge to a basic understanding of viral pathogenesis. More recently, his laboratory elucidated the remarkable evolution of neutralizing antibody responses in HIV infection, providing important insights for the development of an effective HIV vaccine.

Dr. Richman’s current research activities are now focused on the latent HIV reservoir and efforts to eradicate it. He plays an authoritative and constructive role as a speaker on both basic and clinical subjects, a lead editor of the major textbook on clinical virology, organizer of major international meetings and chair of national and international committees.

Representative Publications

  1. Larder B, Darby G, Richman DD:  HIV with reduced sensitivity to zidovudine (AZT) isolated during prolonged therapy. Science 243:1731-1734, 1989.
  2. Wong JK, Hezareh M, Gunthard H, Havlir DV, Ignacio CC, Spina CA, Richman DD. Recovery of replication-competent HIV despite prolonged suppression of plasma viremia. Science 278:1291-1295, 1997.
  3. Little SJ, Holte S, Routy JP, Daar ES, Markowitz M, Collier AC, Koup RA, Mellors JW, Connick E, Conway B, Kilby M, Wang L, Whitcomb JM, Hellmann NS, Richman DD.  Antiretroviral-drug resistance among patients recently infected with HIV.  N Engl J Med. 347:385-394, 2002.
  4. Richman DD, Wrin TL, Little SJ, Petropoulos CJ.  Rapid evolution of the neutralizing antibody response to HIV type 1 infection.  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:4144-4149, 2003.
  5. Richman DD, Margolis DM, Delaney M, Greene WC, Hazuda D, Pomerantz RJ. The Challenge of Finding a Cure for HIV Infection, Science 323:5919, 1304-1307, 2009. PMID: 19265012
  6. Massanella M, Richman DD. Measuring the latent reservoir in vivo. J Clin Invest 126(2): 464-472, 2016. PMCID: PMC4731179
  7. Click here to search for my publications


Dr. Douglas Richman received his A.B. from Dartmouth College and went on to receive his M.D. at Stanford University where he completed his residency. He was a Research Associate in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Clinical Fellow in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Beth Israel Hospital and Children's Hospital Medical Center of Harvard. He trained as an infectious disease physician and medical virologist at Stanford, the NIH and Harvard before joining the faculty at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) in 1976.

Dr. Richman is currently a Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Medicine and holds the Florence Seeley Riford Chair in AIDS Research. He is Director of the UC San Diego HIV Institute, Co-Director of the San Diego Center for AIDS Research and is Director of the Research Center for AIDS and HIV Infections at the San Diego VA Healthcare System where he attends in infectious diseases. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association of Physicians, and the Infectious Disease Society of America. He also received a Docteur en Medecin, Honoris Causa from the University of Lausanne.

Dr. Richman has focused his investigation on HIV disease and pathogenesis for over 35 years. His contributions have forever changed the face of drug development and treatment, ultimately transforming clinical advances and saving millions of lives. His laboratory was the first to identify HIV drug resistance. His lab joined two others in identifying latently infected CD4 cells as the obstacle to eradication of HIV with potent antiretroviral therapy. His lab described the dynamics of the neutralizing antibody response to HIV and the rapidity of viral escape and evolution in response to this selective pressure.

Dr. Richman is an internationally recognized leader in the treatment of patients living with HIV/AIDS and is a world authority on HIV drug resistance. He has authored or co-authored over 700 scientific publications. Dr. Richman is a co-editor of Clinical Virology, a state of the art clinical reference book, and serves on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. He is editor-in-chief of two journals, Antiviral Therapy and Topics in Antiviral Medic.

Dr. Richman recruited and assembled some of the most brilliant, dedicated and talented individuals in the HIV/AIDS field. Many of the highly successful HIV programs at UC San Diego are led by his trainees. He has been described by his colleagues at other institutions as a legendary mentor, and he continues to actively mentor students, trainees and junior faculty members.

Dr. Richman’s long career has been an outstanding example of continuous significance and he remains an energetic and pioneering physician scientist. With more than 36 million people infected with HIV globally, Dr. Richman’s work from the bench to the bedside has saved millions of lives in every corner of the world.

Click here to contact me

Page 'Breadcrumb' Navigation:

External Resources: