Norman Letvin, MD


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Scientific Leadership Group Member
Adjuvant Development Discovery Team Leader
Non-Human Primate Correlates of Immunity of Live Attenuated SIV Discovery Team Leader
Vector Development Core and Non-Human Primate Core Director

Norman Letvin, MD is Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Division of Viral Pathogenesis at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is the Director of the Non-Human Primate Research Program at the NIH Vaccine Research Center.

Dr. Letvin has pioneered the use of nonhuman primates in HIV vaccine design, demonstrating that the biology of SHIV/SIV infection in macaques is a vital model for elucidating HIV infection and transmission in humans. Dr. Letvin defined the role of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) in controlling HIV replication and is currently working to develop vaccination strategies that protect against HIV by targeting CTL. These strategies include using DNA and live vector vaccines that elicit CTL responses in nonhuman primates and humans. Dr. Letvin has also documented how lentiviruses are able to escape from CTL by mutation. Noting the limitations of this strategy, Dr. Letvin and his colleagues are attempting to design vaccines that account for this mutability.

Dr. Letvin received his B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1971. He went on to receive his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1975 followed by his fellowship in Immunology in 1980. Dr. Letvin interned at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. He began his career at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in 1981 and soon became Chairman of the Division of Immunology at the New England Regional Primate Research Center at Harvard. Dr. Letvin started working at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 1994 as Chief of Viral Pathogenesis and took the position of Director of Non-Human Primate Studies at the NIH Vaccine Research Center in 1999. Dr. Letvin has served on the Research Advisory Council for the Office of AIDS Research at the NIH; the AIDS Research Advisory Council at the NIAID; the AIDS Vaccine Research Working Group for the NIAID and the NIH; and the HIV Vaccine Development Resource Group for the NIH. Dr. Letvin serves as a reviewing editor for the journal, Science, and as vaccine editor for the journal, AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.