Peter S. Kim
Stanford School of Medicine
Biochemist; Company executive
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology
Peter S. Kim is the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Biochemistry at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he is also a member of Bio-X and and an Institute Fellow at ChEM-H (Chemistry, Engineering & Medicine for Human Health). Prior to his arrival at Stanford served as President of Merck Research Laboratories at Merck & Co. Kim has a special interest in HIV/AIDS research, and his research has focused on design of compounds that stop membrane fusion by the AIDS virus, thereby preventing it from infecting cells. He has also pioneered efforts to develop an HIV vaccine based on similar principles. While at Merck, he oversaw the development of more than 20 new medicines and vaccines, including treatments for diabetes, cervical cancer, HIV, shingles, and hepatitis C. His current service includes the Medical Advisory Board of HHMI, the Scientific Advisory Board of the NIH Vaccine Research Center, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Harvard Medical School Program in Therapeutic Science, the Board of Scientific Advisors of the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund and the Council of the National Academy of Sciences. His current research focuses on the mechanism of viral membrane fusion and its inhibition by drugs and antibodies, using the HIV envelope protein (gp120/gp41) as a model system. One branch of this research is focused on creating an HIV vaccine that elicits antibodies against a transient, but vulnerable, intermediate in the membrane-fusion process, called the pre-hairpin intermediate. Another area of Kim’s research revolves around protein surfaces that are referred to as "non-druggable,” defined empirically based on failure to identify small, drug-like molecules that bind to them with high affinity and specificity. The Kim lab is working to characterize select non-druggable targets and developing methods to identify ligands for non-druggable protein surfaces.Kim has received several accolades for his research, including: the National Academy of Sciences Award, a DuPont Merck Young Investigator Award, an Eli Lilly Award, the Hans Neurath Award, and the Ho-Am Prize. In addition to his American Academy of Arts and Sciences membership, Kim is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and a Fellow of the Biophysical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Microbiology. His publications appear in high-tier journals including Cell, PNAS, and Science.