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Remembering Steven ("Steve") D. Douglas, MD


With heavy hearts, we share the sad news that our beloved colleague, mentor, friend and hero, Steven (“Steve”) D. Douglas, MD, has died. Dr. Douglas was a scientific giant in our field and will be greatly missed far and wide. Dr. Douglas had a long and productive career and was beloved by all who had the privilege and pleasure of working with and knowing him.  He held a number of prestigious academic and professional positions and received many well-deserved awards and commendations.  

Dr. Douglas served as an invaluable member of the IMPAACT Scientific Leadership Group for the last decade. He previously led the specialty immunology laboratory for IMPAACT and was principal investigator for the Philadelphia IMPAACT Clinical Trials Unit, which included a clinical research site at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the ACTG Adult Unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital. He was also a scientific leader in the Adolescent Trials Network. 

Dr. Douglas’s research interests focused on the cellular immunology of HIV/AIDS, primary immune deficiency diseases, and cellular immunopathologies. In addition, he had significant involvement in studies related to immunological interactions. He authored/coauthored over 500 peer-reviewed publications and had a robust research program that led to numerous scientific contributions to his field. He had continuous NIH funding for over 50 years. At the time of his recent retirement. he was core director in the NIMH-funded Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center and principal investigator for the laboratory biomarkers quantitative pharmacology neuroimaging and neurobehavioral characterization core.

A few years ago, Dr. Stephen Spector, another IMPAACT leader and colleague, was asked to summarize Dr. Douglas’s career in 100 words; his short paragraph is below:

“Dr. Douglas has made seminal contributions to understanding host defense mechanisms, immune deficiencies, and neutrophil and monocyte function. He discovered pokeweed mitogen induction of lymphocyte differentiation and designed diagnostic tests, delineated the monocyte’s role in HIV immunopathogenesis, discovered monocyte neurokinin-1 receptors and identified that SP antagonists block HIV cell entry. He is a thought leader for the NIH AIDS agenda and has chaired numerous peer-review panels for the NIH, FDA, VA, and scientific journals. He was the founding Editor-In-Chief of Clinical Diagnostic Immunology and is a past President of the Society for Leukocyte Biology.”

In addition to his many achievements, Dr. Douglas was a kind, thoughtful and compassionate person, with an easy smile and a quick wit. Our sincere condolences go out to Dr. Douglas’s family, close friends, and colleagues. 

Steven D. Douglas, MD
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