Einstein Experts for Media

Sexually transmitted infections (STI)

Betsy Herold, M.D.

Betsy Herold, M.D.

Professor, Harold and Muriel Block Chair, Pediatrics

Professor, Microbiology & Immunology

Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health

Vice Chair, Research, Pediatrics, Einstein and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM)

Chief, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Einstein and CHAM

Infectious diseasesHerpes simplex virusesCOVID-19 and pediatricsVaccines and antiviralsHIV

Dr. Herold directs a translational research program focused on the interactions between viruses and their host and using that knowledge to develop novel treatment and prevention strategies. Through her basic science studies, Dr. Herold has developed a unique candidate vaccine to prevent herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections, which is being advanced for phase I clinical trials. Studies of this vaccine uncovered a previously unappreciated immune evasion strategy; this knowledge may accelerate the development of drugs to bolster vaccine and monoclonal antibody efficacy against a range of pathogens. 
Her studies on HIV focus on the development of safe and effective pre-exposure prophylactic strategies for young women and on investigating how HSV interacts with HIV to reactivate HIV. Dr. Herold's team also has discovered a previously unrecognized phenomenon in cell biology in which HSV and other viruses activate a mechanism that helps them gain entry and infect healthy cells. This provides a novel target for the development of new antiviral drugs. 

Most recently, her lab has studied why children respond differently and are relatively protected from severe COVID-19. Defining the differences in the immune response in children compared to adults will provide insights into protective immunity against this virus and future pandemic viruses. 

Her clinical research focuses on infections in pediatric transplant recipients. Dr. Herold helped established and is co-chair of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Transplant Research Network (PIDTRAN), which supports and promotes projects to prevent and treat infectious diseases among child transplant recipients. Dr. Herold has served on the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council and on the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Council. She has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1989. Dr. Herold has over 180 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has presented her work internationally.