David Baltimore, former president of the California Institute of Technology (1997—2006) is president emeritus, the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology, and is a senior science advisor for the Science Philanthropy Alliance. He is an accomplished researcher, educator, administrator, and public advocate for science and engineering and is considered one of the world’s most influential biologists. He received his B.A. in chemistry from Swarthmore College in 1960 and a Ph.D. in 1964 from Rockefeller University. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1975 in Physiology or Medicine for his research into viral replication that provided the key to understanding the life cycle of retroviruses, Baltimore has profoundly influenced national science policy on such issues as recombinant DNA research and the AIDS epidemic.
His present research focuses on control of inflammatory and immune responses as well as on the use of gene therapy methods to treat HIV and cancer in a program called “Engineering Immunity.” In addition, he co-directs the Joint Center for Translational Medicine, an activity that joins Caltech and UCLA in a program to translate basic science discoveries into clinical realities. Baltimore’s numerous honors include the 1999 National Medal of Science and the 2000 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize. He is past-president and chair of the American Association of the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, including the Executive Committee on Science, Technology, and Law. He was recently appointed by the NAS as chair of the International Summit on Human Gene Editing.