Biologist and Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine
David Baltimore is chairman of the board of directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Robert A. Millikan Professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. 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. In 1975, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research into viral replication, which provided the key to understanding the life cycle of retroviruses: Remarkably, such viruses, including HIV, reverse the normal flow of genetic information and can insert their DNA directly into the genome of an organism they have infected.
Baltimore has profoundly influenced national science policy on such issues as the AIDS epidemic and research in genetic engineering. He served as founding director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and was appointed in 1996 to head the National Institutes of Health AIDS Vaccine Research Committee. He was president of the AAAS for the 2007/2008 term, and president of the California Institute of Technology from 1997 to 2006. His numerous honors include the Gustave Stern Award in Virology and the National Medal of Science.