Hooked on ID with Paul A. Volberding, MD
I followed a somewhat circuitous route to a career in ID. In medical school and residency, I was strongly drawn to oncology but got a bit distracted by also falling in love with viruses, especially retroviruses. I worked in research virology labs all through college and medical school, and as retroviruses were considered as potentially causing common cancers in humans, that research was typically found not in ID but rather in oncology divisions. I came to UCSF in 1978 for my oncology fellowship and to work in Jay Levy’s retrovirus lab. But when an ID giant, Merle Sande, offered me the chance to start a medical oncology division at San Francisco General Hospital immediately following the end of my training, I eagerly accepted. I left retrovirus research forever, only to walk into the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic on July 1, 1981, when I saw the first Kaposi sarcoma patient admitted to SFGH. I started the world’s first comprehensive AIDS clinic with Connie Wofsy, my ID counterpart in 1983 and when HIV was discovered (in part by Jay), I realized I might get back to my favorite viruses! While I still feel as if part of me is in oncology, my community is clearly ID! Definitely hooked on ID!
– Paul A. Volberding, MD
Chief Medical Editor, Infectious Disease News
Professor of medicine
Director of the AIDS Research Institute
University of California, San Francisco