Joseph (“Mike”) McCune is Head of the HIV Frontiers Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. After studies at Harvard College (with Jack Strominger, leading to an AB in biochemistry) and at the Rockefeller University (with Henry Kunkel and Gunter Blobel, leading to a PhD in cell biology and immunology), he started to treat patients with HIV disease as a resident in internal medicine at UCSF from 1982-1984 and has been involved in the HIV/AIDS research field ever since. This work included postdoctoral studies with Irv Weissman at Stanford (1985-1988), exploring the fusogenic properties of the HIV envelope protein and invention of the first humanized mouse model (the SCID-hu mouse) capable of multilineage human hematopoiesis and receptive to infection with primary isolates of HIV, and was continued in companies that he co-founded (SyStemix in 1988 and Progenesys in 1991) and at which he served first as CEO and then as a Scientific Director. In 1995, Dr. McCune returned to academia as an investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology and then (starting in 2006) as the Chief of the Division of Experimental Medicine (which he founded) at UCSF. Concomitantly, he was the founding PI (and Senior Associate Dean) of the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute at UCSF (from 2005-08). In recent years, he has helped to form multidisciplinary, collaborative research teams to find a cure for HIV disease, first in the context of NIH- and amfAR-funded “collaboratories” at UCSF (2010-2016) and then as Head of the HIV Frontiers Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2018-present). Throughout this time, he has taken care of patients with HIV disease at the San Francisco General Hospital AIDS Clinic/Ward 86 and has also actively mentored graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in academia or biotech/pharma.
Dr. McCune’s studies have led to the publication of over 270 peer-reviewed articles and reviews, and he is the holder of 21 patents and inventions. On the basis of this work, he has been awarded the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Scientist Award in 1996, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research in 2000, a MERIT Award from the NIH in 2001, the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award in 2004, a Gates Grand Challenges Explorations Phase II Award in 2011, and a number of mentoring awards for his activities with junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. He is a member of many scientific and professional societies, including the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Association of Physicians, and the Henry Kunkel Society. He has also served on the editorial boards of multiple scientific journals. He has served as a board member for a variety of organizations, including The Rockefeller University, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Project Inform, Project Open Hand, the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the Foundation for AIDS and Immune Research, the Foundation for Vaccine Research, the Alliance for Lupus Research, the Immune Tolerance Network, the Bluefield Project to Cure Frontotemporal Dementia, and for the biotechnology companies, SyStemix, Progenesys, and Prosetta.