Skip to main content

Stephen Spector, MD




Academic appointment
  • Distinguished Professor, Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Clinical Areas
  • Infectious Diseases – Pediatric
  • Pediatric/Perinatal HIV
  • Undergraduate: University of Buffalo, 1971
  • Medical School: Tufts University School of Medicine, 1971-1975
  • Residency: University of California San Francisco, 1975-1978
  • Fellowship: University of California San Francisco Infectious Diseases and Neonatology, 1977-1978
  • Fellowship: University of California San Diego 1978-1980
  • University of California, San Diego Distinguished Faculty Lecture,1997
  • Testified before U.S. Senate subcommittee on funding allocations for research at NIH (Arlen Specter – chair),1999
  • Best Doctors in America 2000 - present
  • Honored by South African Embassy to the United States for contributions helping to prevent and treat HIV infection of children, 2005
  • Provided testimony to House Committee on Ways and Means on participation of foster children in clinical trials, 2005
  • Honored by Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group for exceptional contributions and leadership 1995-2006
  • Presentation to the Special Parliamentary Committee on HIV/AIDS Papua New Guinea, 2006
  • Elected to American Association of Physicians, 2009
  • Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego Research Award, 2010
  • The Gertrude and Herman Silver Award from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia “In Recognition of his work on behalf of children, adolescents and families affected by HIV disease”, 2010

Dr. Stephen A. Spector is Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Mother-Child-Adolescent HIV Program at the University of California, San Diego. He has been involved with HIV/AIDS research since the beginning of the epidemic. He was the PI and chair of the Executive Committee of the PACTG for more than 10 years during the period of time when HIV mother-to-child transmission was decreased from 25% to <2% and HIV infection was transformed from an invariably fatal disease to a chronic illness. As part of my clinical research program, he directs the UCSD Mother-Child-Adolescent HIV Program that participates in clinical trials within the IMPAACT, PHACS and ATN networks. He has participated and led numerous studies that have focused on improved treatments for HIV-infected youth. His laboratory research has focused on the pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV) and human cytomegalovirus (CMV). His interest in the identification of host factors that affect HIV pathogenesis led the novel finding that during permissive infection, HIV down-regulates autophagy to promote its own replication, and the induction of autophagy (using mTOR inhibitors as well as vitamin D3) inhibits HIV replication. The laboratory has also identified specific host genetic variants that are associated with mother-to-child transmission, HIV disease progression, and antiretroviral pharmacokinetics and adverse effects. This research led to his examining the association of host factors that control HIV replication with the goal of identifying novel strategies to eradicate HIV from those infected. His current CMV research examines the role of CMV in the development and progression of endothelial cell inflammation and cardiovascular disease.
  • Campbell GR, Bruckman RS, Chu Y-L, Spector SA. Autophagy induction by histone Deacetylase inhibitors inhibits HIV type 1. J Biol Chem 2015 Feb 20;290(8):5028-40. doi: 1074/jbc.M114.605428. Epub 2014 Dec 24. PMID: 25540204, PMCID: PMC4335239.
  • Garg A, Rawat P, Spector SA: Interleukin 23 produced by myeloid dendritic cells contributes to T-cell dysfunction in HIV type 1 infection by inducing SOCS1 expression. J Infect Dis 2015; 211(5):755-68. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiu523. Epub 2014 Sep 18. PMID: 25234720, PMCID: PMC4402373.
  • Campbell GR, Bruckman RS, Rawat P, Specor SA. Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Nef Inhibits Autophagy through Transcription Factor EB Sequestration. PLoS Pathogens 2015 Jun 26;11(6):e1005018. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005018. eCollection 2015 Jun.PMID: 26115100, PMCID: PMC4482621.
  • Brummel SS, Singh KK, Maihofer AX, Farhad M, Qin M, Fenton T, Nievergelt CM, Spector SA. Associations of Genetically Determined Continental Ancestry with CD4+ Count and Plasma HIV-1 RNA beyond Self-Reported Race and Ethnicity. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015 Nov 3. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26536313, PMCID: PMC4788562.
  • Singh KK, Qin M, Brummel SS, Angelidou K, Trout RN, Fenton T, Spector SA. Killer Cell Immunoglobulin-Like Receptor Alleles Alter HIV Disease in Children. PLoS One. 2016 Mar 16;11(3):e0151364. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151364. eCollection 2016. PubMed PMID: 26983081; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4794224.
  • Rawat P, Spector SA. Development and characterization of a human microglia cell model of HIV-1 infection. J Neurovirol 2017 Feb;23(1):33-46. doi: 10.1007/s13365-016-0472-1.. 2016 Aug 18. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27538994. PMCID: PMC5593752
  • Garg A, Trout R, Spector SA.. Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 myeloid derived suppressor cells inhibit cytomegalovirus inflammation through interleukin-27 and B7-H4. Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 24;7:44485. doi: 10.1038/srep44485 PMID: 28338007 PMCID: PMC5364511
  • Campbell GR, Bruckman RS, Herns SD, Joshi S, Durden D, Spector SA. Induction of autophagy by PI3K/MTOR and PI3K/MTOR/BRD4 inhibitors suppresses HIV-1 replication. J Biol Chem. 2018 Feb 23. pii: jbc.RA118.002353. doi: 10.1074/jbc. RA118.002353. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29475942, PMCID: PMC5912471.
  • Zhang G, Luk BT, Hamidy M, Zhang L, Spector SA. Induction of a Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase-dependent form of autophagy triggers preferential cell death of human immunodeficiency virus type-1-infected Autophagy. 2018;14(8):1359-1375. doi: 10.1080/ 15548627.2018.1476014. Epub 2018 Jul 23. PubMed PMID: 29962265.
  • Campbell GR, Bruckman RS, Chu YL, Trout RN, Spector SA. SMAC Mimetics Induce Autophagy-Dependent Apoptosis of HIV-1-Infected Resting Memory CD4+ T Cells. Cell Host Microbe. 2018 Nov 14;24(5):689-702.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2018.09.007. Epub2018 Oct 18. PubMed PMID: 30344003; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6250054.
  • Wei X, Zhang G, Ran D, Krishnan N, Fang RH, Gao W, Spector SA*, Zhang L*.T-Cell-Mimicking Nanoparticles Can Neutralize HIV Infectivity. Adv Mater. 2018 Nov;30(45):e1802233. doi: 10.1002/adma.201802233. Epub 2018 Sep 25. PubMed PMID: 30252965, PMCID: PMC6334303 (co-corresponding authors).
  • Teodorof-Diedrich C, Spector SA. Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 gp120 and Tat Induce Mitochondrial Fragmentation and Incomplete Mitophagy in Human Neurons. J Virol. 2018 Oct 29;92(22). pii: e00993-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00993-18. Print PubMed PMID: 30158296; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6206485.
  • Rawat P, Teodorof-Diedrich C, Spector SA. Human immunodeficiency virus Type-1 single-stranded RNA activates the NLRP3 inflammasome and impairs autophagic clearance of damaged mitochondria in human microglia. Glia. 2018 Dec 24. doi:1002/glia.23568. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30582668.
  • Rawat P, Hon S, Teodorof-Diedrich C, Spector SA. Trehalose Inhibits Human Immunodeficiency Virus type-1 Infection in Primary Human Macrophages and CD4+ T lymphocytes through Two Distinct Mechanisms. J Virol. 2020 Aug 17;94(17):e00237-0. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00237-20. Print 2020 Aug 17. PMID: 32554696    
  • Campbell GR, To RK, Zhang G, Spector SA. SMAC mimetics induce autophagy-dependent apoptosis HIV-1-infected macrophages. Cell Death & Disease 2020 Jul 27;11(7):590. PMID: 32719312 PMCID: PMC7385130 DOI: 10.1038/s41419-020-02761-x
  • Teodorof-Diedrich C, Spector SA. Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 and methamphetamine Mediated Mitochondrial Damage and Neuronal Degeneration in Human Neurons. J. Virol. 2020 Sep 29;94(20):e00924-20. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00924-20. Print 2020 Sep 29. PMID: 32796068
  • Zhang G, Campbell GR, Zhang Q, Maule E, Hanna J, Weiwei G, Zhang L, Spector SA. CD4+ T cell-mimicking nanoparticles broadly neutralize HIV-1 and suppress viral replication through autophagy. mBio. 2020 Sep 15;11(5):e00903-20. doi: 10.1128/ mBio.00903-20. PMID: 32934078, PMCID: PMC7492730 DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00903-20.
  • Rawat P, Brummel SS, Singh KK, Kim J, Frazer KA, Nichols S, Seage Iii GR, Williams PL, Van Dyke RB, Harismendy O, Trout RN, Spector SA; Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study and the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Network. Genomics Links Inflammation with Neurocognitive Impairment in Children           Living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus type-1. J Infect Dis. 2020 Dec 29:jiaa792. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa792. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33373444.
  • Baden LR, El Sahly HM, Essink B, Kotloff K, Frey S, Novak R, Diemert D, Spector SA, Rouphael N, Creech CB, McGettigan J, Khetan S, Segall N, Solis J, Brosz A, Fierro C, Schwartz H, Neuzil K, Corey L, Gilbert P, Janes H, Follmann D, Marovich M, Mascola J, Polakowski L, Ledgerwood J, Graham BS, Bennett H, Pajon R, Knightly C, Leav B, Deng W, Zhou H, Han S, Ivarsson M, Miller J, Zaks T; COVE Study Group.             Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine. N Engl J Med. 2021 Feb 4;384(5):403-416. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2035389. Epub 2020 Dec 30. PMID: 33378609; PMCID: PMC7787219.
  • Campbell GR, To RK, Hanna J, Spector SA. SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and HIV-1 derived ssRNA sequences activate the NLRP3 inflammasome in human macrophages through a non-classical pathway. iScience. 2021 Mar 9:102295. doi: 10.1016/j. isci.2021.102295. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33718825; PMCID: PMC7939994.