Dr. Ted Pierson is the Director of the VRC. As Director, he leads the VRC’s comprehensive basic, translational, and clinical research programs focused on designing, developing, and testing candidate vaccines and biologics against HIV/AIDS, coronaviruses, influenza, and emerging infectious diseases with pandemic potential. Dr. Pierson also serves as Chief of the VRC’s Arbovirus Immunity Section. His research explores fundamental and translational questions related to arbovirus assembly and entry, humoral immunity, and vaccine design and evaluation.
Dr. Pierson received a B.S. in marine science from Eckerd College and a Ph.D. in immunology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. During his graduate studies with Dr. Robert F. Siliciano, he investigated the molecular biology of the pre-integration state of HIV-1 latency and the contribution of this reservoir toward the persistence of HIV-1 in humans. Dr. Pierson trained as a postdoctoral fellow and research associate with Dr. Robert W. Doms at the University of Pennsylvania, where he developed interests in the virology and immunology of arboviruses, including West Nile and dengue viruses. In 2005, Dr. Pierson was recruited to the NIAID Division of Intramural Research program’s Laboratory of Viral Diseases (LVD) to initiate an independent research program focused on flavivirus biology and, in 2011, became a tenured senior investigator and Chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Section. He was named Chief of the LVD in 2018 and served in that role until he was appointed VRC Director in 2023.
Dr. Pierson served as the Deputy Scientific Director and later Scientific Director of the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program between 2014 and 2018. He has co-authored more than 130 publications. He has served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals and as an editor for PLoS Pathogens and the Journal of Virology. Dr. Pierson is an American Academy of Microbiology Fellow and recipient of the NIH Director’s Ruth L. Kirschstein Mentoring Award.