Peter S. Kim is a structural biologist known for discovering how proteins cause membranes to fuse, a central feature of all life. He has designed novel compounds that stop membrane fusion by the AIDS virus, thereby preventing it from infecting cells, and has pioneered efforts to develop an HIV vaccine based on similar principles.
Dr. Kim was appointed president of Merck’ Research Laboratories (MRL) in 2003 where he was responsible for Merck’s drug and vaccine research and development activities until 2013. Previously, Dr. Kim served as MRL’s executive vice president, Research and Development, from 2001 to 2002.
Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Kim was a Professor of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was also a Member of the Whitehead Institute and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Kim also served as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) AIDS Vaccine Research Committee.
Dr. Kim received his undergraduate education at Cornell University, graduating with distinction in chemistry. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Stanford University. While at Stanford he was a Medical Scientist Training Program Fellow.
His work has earned him numerous awards including the National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, the Hans Neurath Award of the Protein Society, and the Samsung Foundation Ho-Am Prize in Basic Science.
Dr. Kim currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, the Board of Trustees of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Council of Cornell University.
Dr. Kim was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1997. He is also an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.