Jay A. Levy, MD, is professor in the Department of Medicine and research associate in the Cancer Research Institute at UCSF. He is director of the Laboratory for Tumor and AIDS Virus Research at UCSF. In his early work, Dr. Levy discovered xenotropic viruses that introduced a new paradigm in virology. During the past 30 years, Dr. Levy and his staff have dedicated their efforts to research on AIDS. In 1983 he independently discovered the AIDS virus, HIV, which he originally called the AIDS-associated retrovirus (ARV). He pioneered heat-treatment studies that demonstrated how to heat-inactivate HIV in clotting factor preparations. This approach, for which he received the Murray Thelin Award from the National Hemophilia Foundation, has protected many hemophiliacs from HIV infection. He was the first to report the presence of HIV in the brain and bowel and linked the virus to diseases in these tissues. His group was also the first to demonstrate the ability of CD8+ lymphocytes in healthy infected people to control HIV replication by a noncytotoxic mechanism.
Dr. Levy is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Microbiology. He was given the Award of Distinction by the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR). He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Wesleyan University and an Honorary Degree in Science from that university. In 1998, he was chosen by the San Francisco Examiner as one of the ten most influential people in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1999, he was given the UCSF/ARI George Sarlo Award for Excellence in Mentoring. In 2002, he was chosen as the 45th Faculty Research Lecturer at UCSF, the highest honor given to a member of the UCSF Academic Senate. In 2004, he received the Abbott Laboratories Award for outstanding research in immunology. In 2008, he was awarded the Gold Medal for excellence in medical research by Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Levy is editor-in-chief of the highly cited journal AIDS. He has published over 600 scientific articles and reviews and is the author or editor of 14 books dealing with viruses and immunology.