Chief, Virology Core
Education: Ph.D., 1993, The University of Chicago, IL
Dr. Kong received his Ph.D. in 1993 in virology at the University of Chicago, where he studied the molecular pathogenesis of picornaviruses, a class of viruses that contribute to the development of central nervous system disease. He made significant contributions to the elucidation of the mechanism by which these viruses induce disease. Dr. Kong then completed a postdoctoral fellowship and subsequently held a research investigator faculty appointment in Dr. Gary Nabel’s laboratory at the University of Michigan prior to beginning his employment at the VRC. At the University of Michigan, Dr. Kong’s work helped to better understand the role of NF-kB in selectively regulating gene expression in differentiation and development. He also collaborated with other members of the lab on research related to human herpes virus 8 (HHV8), which is associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma.
Dr. Kong has a proven record of accomplishment in high-visibility and high-impact VRC vaccine development efforts. As chief of the Virology Core, Dr. Kong is responsible for advancing research on the development of new vaccine candidates and new vector systems for antigen delivery, overseeing all aspects of molecular biology related to viral vector construction and development, and evaluation of vaccine candidates for their effectiveness in inducing potent and broad immune responses in different animal models. An essential part of his position is that he communicates with multiple users, including scientists from the VL, Structural Biology Section, Humoral Immunology Core, Immunology Core, and Nonhuman Primate Immunogenicity Core.