Joseph Sodroski, MD


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Scientific Leadership Group Member
Structural Biology Discovery Team Leader

Joseph Sodroski, MD received his M.D. from Jefferson Medical College in 1980 and did his postdoctoral training at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the laboratory of Dr. William Haseltine. He is currently Professor of Pathology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr. Joseph Sodroski’s research has focused on the molecular mechanisms of replication and pathogenesis of human retroviruses, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Dr. Sodroski first demonstrated that human retroviruses encode proteins that regulate viral gene expression. Dr. Sodroski then explored the basis of HIV-1’s killing of the host cell and demonstrated the involvement of the viral envelope proteins in this process. Using an animal model of HIV-1 infection that he developed, Dr. Sodroski linked this killing effect to the loss of CD4-expressing T lymphocytes, a major cause of AIDS immunosuppression. Dr. Sodroski has characterized the entry of HIV-1 into the host cell, identifying the second receptors of the virus. In collaboration with Drs. Hendrickson and Kwong, Dr. Sodroski solved the first x-ray crystal structure of the HIV-1 exterior envelope protein, a major target for drugs and vaccine-induced antibodies. Dr. Sodroski first modified HIV-1 to create defective lentivirus vectors for use in basic and clinical gene therapy. Using these vectors, Dr. Sodroski identified a factor, TRIM5alpha, that blocks HIV-1 soon after the virus enters the cells of monkeys.
Dr. Sodroski served as Director of the Center for AIDS Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Children’s Hospital from 1994-2004, and is currently Associate Director of the Harvard Medical School Center for AIDS Research.