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David Derse, Ph.D.
1949-2009

Our dear friend and colleague David Derse, Head of the Retrovirus Gene Expression Section in the HIV Drug Resistance Program, died October 9, 2009, of liver cancer.  During his 25 years at the National Cancer Institute, he investigated the molecular mechanisms of retrovirus infection and replication, concentrating most recently on the human viruses HIV-1 and HTLV-1.  In 2007, Dr. Derse and his research team discovered how HTLV-1 evades the body's natural defenses to fight off infection, a finding that may eventually lead to improved antiviral therapies and new strategies for preventing some types of cancer.

Dr. Derse earned his Ph.D. in 1982 from the State University of New York at Buffalo, studying inhibitors of herpesvirus and cellular DNA polymerases in the laboratory of Dr. Yung-Chi Cheng, and did postdoctoral research on bovine leukemia virus gene regulation with Dr. James Casey at the Louisiana State University Medical Center.  After joining the National Cancer Institute in 1986, Dr. Derse continued research on the Tax and Rex proteins encoded by deltaretroviruses.  In 1991, he became a tenured Senior Investigator and extended his research into comparative biochemical analyses of lentivirus Tat and Rev proteins.  Dr. Derse joined the HIV Drug Resistance Program in 2004 as Head of the Retrovirus Gene Expression Section.  He was also an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program in Genetics at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and served on the Editorial Boards of Virology and Retrovirology and the Executive Committee of the Center of Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Cancer Virology, Center for Cancer Research.

For inquiries about the Derse laboratory, please contact Dr. Gisela Heidecker.



Last modified: 24 October 2013

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