News Release

Friday, February 1, 2008

Dr. Carl Dieffenbach Appointed Director of the NIAID Division of AIDS

Carl W. Dieffenbach, Ph.D., has been appointed Director of the Division of AIDS (DAIDS) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health.

"It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Dr. Carl Dieffenbach as the director of the NIAID Division of AIDS," says NIAID director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "Dr. Dieffenbach has been instrumental in implementing and sustaining important and innovative research programs that have significantly improved our understanding of HIV disease."

Dr. Fauci adds, "Dr. Dieffenbach is a proven leader who has fostered a culture of scientific rigor, productivity and open communication in his previous roles at NIAID. His scientific acumen and leadership ability promise to advance AIDS science as he takes on this important position within the Institute."

Dr. Dieffenbach has served as the acting director of DAIDS since January 2007, and prior to that had served as the acting principal deputy director of that Division since July 2006. In these two vital leadership roles, Dr. Dieffenbach developed, directed and coordinated DAIDS program activities and served as a senior advisor to Dr. Fauci on HIV/AIDS research opportunities and directions. Dr. Dieffenbach played a key role in restructuring the DAIDS-supported clinical trials research networks, and has actively fostered collaboration and partnerships with other federal agencies, international research organizations, professional societies, foundations, community advocacy groups and industry.

From 1994 to 2007, Dr. Dieffenbach served as associate director of the DAIDS Basic Sciences program. Under his guidance, the Basic Sciences Program supported key studies on the basic mechanisms of HIV disease, developed new approaches in prevention and therapy, and defined on a population level the long-term consequences of HIV disease in people receiving treatment.

"I am honored to lead the Division of AIDS at this critical time in HIV/AIDS research," notes Dr. Dieffenbach. "In carrying out this role, my priorities will be to articulate and address the most important scientific questions in AIDS science, provide the leadership needed to implement a dynamic scientific agenda, and position NIAID to respond nimbly to emerging scientific needs and opportunities."

Dr. Dieffenbach joined NIAID in 1992 as chief of the Developmental Therapeutics Branch within the Division of AIDS. In this position, he oversaw studies on pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis using tenofovir and helped advance several novel therapeutic agents into clinical testing.

Since joining NIH, Dr. Dieffenbach has served as an adjunct associate professor of pathology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Md. In 1999, he was elected chair of the Gordon Research Conference on AIDS Therapeutics. He is co-author of the first and second editions of PCR Primer, published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press in 1995 and 2003, respectively.

Dr. Dieffenbach earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics in 1984 from Johns Hopkins University and continued his research career studying host-virus interactions in the Department of Pathology at USUHS. While at USUHS, he helped clone the cellular receptor for mouse hepatitis virus, and he showed that when infected with HIV, frontline immune cells known as macrophages have a defect in interferon alpha production, indicating an early breakdown in this critical innate immune response to HIV.

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on basic immunology, transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergies.

News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at

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