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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.

William R. Jacobs Jr., Ph.D.

William R. Jacobs Jr., Ph.D.

Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, Einstein

Professor, Genetics, Einstein

Leo and Julia Forchheimer Chair in Microbiology & Immunology, Einstein

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Infectious diseasesTuberculosis (TB)Vaccines

Molecular genetics

Dr. Jacobs is pioneering the use of molecular genetics to control tuberculosis (TB), which kills nearly two million people a year. His research is identifying the genes that make Mycobacterium  tuberculosis (MTB) - the bacteria that causes TB -  virulent, identifying new drug targets and engineering weakened strains that can be used as live vaccines. Dr. Jacobs was the first scientist to introduce foreign DNA into MTB, a technique now regularly used by TB investigators around the world. read more...


Liise-anne Pirofski, M.D.

Liise-anne Pirofski, M.D.

Professor, Medicine (Infectious Diseases), Einstein

Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, Einstein

Selma and Dr. Jacques Mitrani Chair in Biomedical Research, Einstein

Chief, Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Einstein and Montefiore Health System

Infectious diseasesConvalescent plasmaCOVID-19PneumoniaImmunologyBacterial infections

A leading physician-scientist, Dr. Pirofski studies vaccine and antibody mediated immunity to infectious diseases, including cryptococcosis (the leading cause of fungal meningitis globally), pneumococcal pneumonia, and COVID-19. Her work has identified novel ways by which antibodies protect against pneumonia and the spread of fungal infections. She has spearheaded studies to understand the antibody response to the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

Dr. Pirofski is co-author of the “damage-response framework of microbial pathogenesis,” a novel theory that incorporates the role of the host into the outcome of host-microbe interactions and infectious diseases.

As chief of the division of infectious diseases, Dr. Pirofski helped lead the Einstein and Montefiore response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also co-authored a widely-cited commentary in the Journal of Clinical Investigation proposing the use of convalescent plasma as a potential treatment for COVID-19 and is leading Einstein and Montefiore’s participation in a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial to test the efficacy of convalescent plasma in hospitalized patients.

Dr. Pirofski, who has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health throughout her career, is a member of the American Association of Physicians and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, American College of Physicians, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has received numerous awards for her accomplishments, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Alumni Association and the American Society for Microbiology’s William A. Hinton Award, which honors outstanding contributions toward fostering the research training of underrepresented minorities in microbiology.