IAS Fellow at University College, Durham University (April – June 2007)
Professor Cullen is an internationally known expert in the field of pathogenic human viruses. He obtained a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences at the University of Warwick and a M.Sc. in Virology at the University of Birmingham before emigrating to the USA, where he received a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. After a brief period working in the pharmaceutical industry, Professor Cullen was offered the prestigious position of Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina. He has been a faculty member at Duke since 1987, where he currently holds the James B. Duke Chair in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and directs the Duke University Center for Virology.
Professor Cullen’s research has had a major impact on our current understanding of the molecular biology of several important human pathogens, including HIV-1, the etiologic agent of AIDS, and several human herpesviruses. He has published over 230 articles in prominent scientific journals and has also penned several book chapters. The scientific impact of this body of work can be gauged from the fact that Professor Cullen has been named one of the most highly cited researchers in biomedical research by the Institute for Scientific Information and one of the 10 most highly cited researchers in AIDS by the journal “Science.” He has been awarded the Eli Lilly Molecular Biology Contact Award, an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Award, and recently was also awarded a Visiting Professorship by Imperial College, London. Professor Cullen continues to direct a highly active research laboratory at Duke University Medical Center where his work is currently focused on understanding the ongoing evolutionary race between viral pathogens and host anti-viral defense systems.
While at the IAS, Professor Cullen will work to shed further light on the phenomenon of antagonistic co-evolution and seek to communicate the ongoing importance of the evolutionary selection paradigm not only for understanding the evolution of species but also for the development of effective treatments for rapidly evolving pathogens such as HIV-1 and tuberculosis.