Our dear friend and colleague David Derse, Head of the Retrovirus Gene Expression Section in the HIV DRP, 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 DRP 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
For inquiries about the Derse laboratory, please contact Dr. Gisela Heidecker.
modified: 3 April 2018