amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

2015 HIV Cure Summit Speakers

Kenneth Cole

ColeKenneth Cole joined amfAR’s board of directors in July 1987. He was elected vice chairman in April 2002 and chairman of the board in January 2005. He has initiated amfAR’s public awareness efforts annually since 1985 when he spearheaded the campaign “For the Future of Our Children,” photographed by Annie Leibovitz. In 2005 he created and launched the “We All Have AIDS” public service campaign, which featured key entertainment, political, social and scientific leaders in an effort to counter the devastating stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Mr. Cole is chairman of Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc., a business that began over 25 years ago out of the back of a 40-foot trailer. Kenneth Cole Productions is one of the most widely revered and consistently focused fashion houses, with retail sales in excess of one and a half billion dollars. Mr. Cole goes far beyond lending his name to a line of clothing and accessories; he is the ultimate driving force and creative director in all areas from design to marketing.

In 2008, Mr. Cole launched AWEARNESS, The Kenneth Cole Foundation to promote, encourage, and inspire meaningful social change and support like-minded individuals and organizations to make a difference. In addition to amfAR, Mr. Cole sits on the board of the Sundance Institute, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and HELP USA, the nation’s largest provider of homes, jobs and services for the homeless. He has received numerous awards for his innovative, socially conscious advertising and overall social outreach, including amfAR’s Award of Courage.

Sam Hawgood, MBBS

hawgood-1.jpgDr. Hawgood has served UCSF for 32 years as a clinician, researcher, teacher, mentor and leader. He succeeded chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann in April 2014 as interim chancellor of UCSF. Hawgood has also served as dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and as vice chancellor for medical affairs since September 2009. Under his leadership, the school has become the top medical school in the nation in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, with many of its departments also leading the nation in their fields.

Hawgood joined UCSF as a research fellow in 1982, and has maintained his own laboratory since 1984. Prior to becoming dean, Hawgood served as chief of the Division of Neonatology, then as chair of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. He has also served as associate director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute and is president of the UCSF Medical Group, the faculty association that represents more than 1,800 UCSF physicians.

The school’s clinical faculty is renowned for world-class medical care through its practice in the top-ranked UCSF Medical Center, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, San Francisco General Hospital & Trauma Center, and the San Francisco Veterans’ Administration Medical Center. As interim chancellor, Hawgood oversees the entire $4 billion UCSF enterprise, which also includes top-ranking schools of dentistry, nursing and pharmacy, as well as a graduate division and affiliated hospitals.

Kevin Robert Frost

frost-1.jpgKevin Robert Frost joined amfAR in September 1994 and has served as chief executive officer since March 2007. In February 2010, Mr. Frost was appointed by President Obama to the Presidential Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), which is charged with providing guidance and recommendations to the administration on the U.S. government’s domestic and international HIV/AIDS programs.

Mr. Frost served as a member of the international advisory committee for the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona and was a member of the Scientific Committee for the Toronto conference in 2006. He has been published in The Lancet, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Journal of AIDS (JAIDS), Journal of Infectious Diseases, and The AIDS Reader, and has served on the advisory panels for three U.S. FDA hearings on new drug applications. 

As vice president, clinical research and prevention programs, at amfAR and later, vice president, global initiatives, Mr. Frost worked extensively in Asia, where he facilitated the development of amfAR’s TREAT Asia program. This network of more than 50 hospitals, community clinics, NGOs, and healthcare facilities works together with civil society in 17 countries to build the capacity necessary for scaling up treatment efforts in the region.

Prior to joining amfAR, Mr. Frost served as the inpatient care coordinator of the AIDS program at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. Previously, he was a research assistant at the New York University Medical Center where he worked primarily on clinical research studies of cytomegalovirus retinitis in people with HIV/AIDS.

Paul Volberding, M.D.

volb1.jpgDr. Volberding is a professor in the Department of Medicine at UCSF and director of the Center for AIDS Research at UCSF and the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology. He was appointed director of the AIDS Research Institute at UCSF and director of research for Global Health Sciences in 2012. Volberding served as director of the Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital for 20 years and served until 2012 as vice chair of the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Volberding’s clinical appointment is at the San Francisco VA, where he maintains an active HIV outpatient practice and where he serves as the Board chair of the nonprofit NCIRE, the Veteran’s Health Research Institute. Volberding is the clinical editor in chief of the Journal of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndromes and serves as the chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Accordia Global AIDS Foundation and the Infectious Diseases Institute at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

Steven Deeks, M.D.

deeks1.jpgSteven Deeks, M.D., is a professor of medicine at UCSF. He co-directs the UCSF SCOPE cohort, which has supported more than 100 cure-related research programs, many funded by amfAR.

He has been the principal investigator or a co-investigator on several amfAR-supported studies and was part of the original amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE) collaboration.

Dr. Deeks has directed or co-directed several cure-related interventional studies. He is the principal investigator in an NIH-funded international collaboration, the Delaney AIDS Research Enterprise (DARE), aimed at developing therapeutic interventions to cure HIV infection. He also co-chairs the International AIDS Society “Towards an HIV Cure” initiative and is active in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group. In addition to his clinical and translational investigations, Dr. Deeks maintains a primary care clinic for HIV-infected patients.

Warner C. Greene, M.D., Ph.D.

green-1.jpgResearch by Warner C. Greene, M.D., Ph.D., has provided new insights into how CD4 T cells die during HIV infection and new approaches to curing HIV infection. Dr. Greene is the founding director and the Nick and Sue Hellmann Distinguished Professor of Translational Medicine at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, and he co-directs the federally funded UCSF-Gladstone Center for AIDS Research.

Dr. Greene has mentored more than 120 students and fellows during his more than 30-year career in science. Since 2007, his efforts have expanded to include global health in sub-Saharan Africa in his service as president and executive chairman of the Accordia Global Health Foundation. Accordia established the Infectious Diseases Institute at Makerere University in Uganda, which has trained thousands of African health care workers, is caring for 30,000 HIV-infected patients, and has brought health care to nearly 500,000 people living in remote rural regions of Uganda.

Rowena Johnston, Ph.D.

johnston-1.jpgAs vice president and director of research at amfAR, Rowena Johnston is responsible for overseeing the Foundation’s pioneering research program. Her responsibilities include determining the Foundation’s research priorities, evaluating and analyzing the program’s direction, and serving as a liaison between the scientific community and other communities. She ensures that amfAR’s research priorities drive and reflect the most promising scientific breakthroughs, and align with the Foundation’s mission to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In 2010 Dr. Johnston was instrumental in forming the amfAR Research Consortium on HIV Eradication (ARCHE).  She directs the research focus of the Consortium and ensures collaboration between ARCHE grantees. 

Mike McCune, M.D., Ph.D.

mccune1.jpgThe work of Joseph (“Mike”) McCune, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Experimental Medicine, has spanned more than 30 years of the epidemic and helped answer fundamental questions in the fight against HIV/AIDS. His research uncovered the mechanisms by which HIV destroys the immune system, as well as the role of inflammation in the disease’s progression and the persistence of the virus. His awards include the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Scientist Award in 1996, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research in 2000, a MERIT Award from the NIH in 2001, and the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award in 2004.

Satish Pillai, Ph.D.

pill-1.jpgSatish Pillai, Ph.D., associate investigator at the Blood Systems Research Institute and associate professor of laboratory medicine at UCSF, led research that demonstrated precisely how interferon, which is still used in combination with other drugs to treat hepatitis C, attacks HIV at the molecular level in vivo. The discovery advanced efforts to enhance the body’s defense mechanisms, especially its production of restriction factors that potently suppress HIV replication. This work led to his team’s recent discovery that interferon-mediated immune factors play an important role in determining the size of the latent HIV reservoir in HIV-infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy. Researchers have since been exploring how to manipulate interferon-mediated immunity to help flush the virus from latently infected cells.