Jerome Zack*

Jerome A Zack

Department Chair, MIMG, MIMG, University of California Los Angeles

Professor, Medicine, University of California Los Angeles

Professor, MIMG, University of California Los Angeles


615 Charles E. Young Drive South
BOX 957363, 190A BSRB
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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Jerome Zack, Ph.D., holds the M. Philip Davis Chair in Microbiology and Immunology. The Zack laboratory at UCLA is exploring ways to purge HIV reservoirs to effect either a cure or “functional cure” (long term remission) of HIV disease. It is long lived latent reservoirs that mandate that HIV infected individuals remain on antiretroviral therapy, because upon cessation of therapy, latent reservoirs rekindle virus replication and disease progression. The Zack laboratory is exploring “kick and kill” and immune system engineering to accomplish their goals. The kick and kill approach involves activation of infected cells to allow visualization of viral proteins, while the individual is on therapy to prevent spread of virus. Subsequently an anti-viral targeting approach is added, to kill the previously latently infected cell, which is now expressing viral proteins. Targeting approaches being pursued include cell-based effectors such as engineered CTL or NK cells. A recent study along these lines showed that a PKC modulator (kick) coupled with NK cells as the “kill” component, could decrease HIV reservoirs in a humanized mouse model. The genetic engineering approach involves introduction of anti-HIV chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) into human hematopoietic progenitor cells. These cells then develop into effector cells in vivo (T and NK cells), which can now target HIV infected cells. This approach has shown some efficacy in humanized mice and non-human primates. Much of Dr. Zack’s work involves the use of humanized mice, a tool which can be extended to other viral systems.


Director, Center For Aids Research
Associate Director, Eli & Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Research
Co-Director, UCLA AIDS Institute
Member, CTSI, Cell & Developmental Biology GPB Home Area, Immunity, Microbes & Molecular Pathogenesis GPB Home Area, Molecular Pharmacology GPB Home Area, Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC)

Research Interests

My interests are in the pathogenic processes of HIV-1 infection. My laboratory concentrates on developing model systems which are more relevant to the pathogenic process in man than are standard in vitro culture approaches, with the eventual goal of using these systems to develop therapeutic strategies for AIDS. We are currently concentrating on several major areas of investigation, which include: 1) use of the SCID-hu mouse as an in vivo model for HIV-1-induced pathogenesis, investigating latency mechanisms and therapeutic approaches. Studies currently ongoing involve factors involved in immune reconstitution following pharmacologic therapy and novel therapeutic approaches including gene therapy; 2) development of novel in vitro culture systems which mimic the in vivo situation; 3) molecular analysis of reverse transcription defects in non-dividing lymphocytes; 4) hematopoietic differentiation of human embryonic stem cells, with the intent to utilize these cells to genetically manipulate cells of the immune system. We will continue to develop new model systems and explore existing models to answer important questions regarding the mechanisms associated with HIV disease progression. The members of my laboratory feel that increasing the basic knowledge base regarding pathogenesis will allow a more rational approach to the development of therapeutics to either cure or greatly reduce the morbidity associated with this disease.


Dr. Jerome Zack is a Professor in the Department of Medicine and Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1991, and teaches the undergraduate immunology course. The author of more than 200 scientific publications, Dr. Zack is best known for his innovative work on how HIV replicates and causes disease, and in developing new therapeutic approaches for eradicating the AIDS virus.

Awards and Honors

  • Distinguished Alumnus, CSULB College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, 2011.
  • Distinguished Research Career Award, Ohio State Univ, 2000.
  • NIH Merit Award, NIH/NIAID, 1998.
  • Elizabeth Glazer Scientist Award, Pediatric AIDS Foundation, 1996-2001.