Peter D. Kwong, PhD

Profile Headshot

Overview

Academic Appointments

  • Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Dr. Kwong received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1995, and continued as a postdoc with Wayne A. Hendrickson until 2000, when he was appointed to his current position as Chief of the Structural Biology Section at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institutes of Health. Since 2016, Dr. Kwong has also been an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University. Dr. Kwong is internationally recognized for his work defining structural aspects of the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins and their interactions with antibodies. His awards include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2003), the Norman P. Salzman Award in Virology (2012), election to the American Academy of Microbiology (2014), and multiple NIAID Merit and NIH Director’s Awards. For the last several years, his group at the VRC has focused on applying the atomic-level tools of structural biology to the development of effective vaccines against HIV-1 and other viral pathogens. At Columbia University, his efforts have focused on Antibodyomics, the informatics of antibody recognition, development, and improvement.

Gender

  • Male

Credentials & Experience

Honors & Awards

1987                National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship

1998                Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in Biomedical Sciences

2003                Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

2007                Director’s Award, National Institutes of Health

2010                NIAID Merit Award

2011                NIAID Merit Award

2012                SER-CAT Outstanding Science Award

2012                Norman P. Salzman Award in Virology

2012                NIAID Merit Award

2013                Director’s Award, National Institutes of Health

2013                NIAID Merit Award

2014                Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology

2014                NIAID Merit Award

Research

At Columbia University, my research has focused on Antibodyomics, the informatics of antibody recognition, development, and improvement. Numerous antibodies have been identified from HIV-1-infected donors that neutralize diverse strains of HIV-1. These antibodies could provide the basis for a B cell-mediated HIV-1 vaccine. However, it has been unclear how to elicit similar antibodies by vaccination. To address this issue, my group along with colleagues from Columbia University (L. Shapiro, B. Honig, R. Friesner) and elsewhere (Academia Sinica, ADARC, NIH, Vanderbilt University, University of Kansas) have undertaken an informatics-based approach to understand the genetic and immunologic processes controlling the development of HIV-1-neutralizing antibodies. As genetic information is currently the fastest growing database of biological information, we have focused on incorporating next-generation sequencing of B cell transcripts to determine the origin, maturation pathway, and prevalence of broadly neutralizing antibody lineages (Antibodyomics1, 2, 4, and 6). We have also incorporated large-scale robotic analyses of serum neutralization to identify and quantify neutralizing antibodies from donor cohorts (Antibodyomics3). Statistical analyses furnish another layer of insight (Antibodyomics5), with informatics incorporating physical characteristics of antibodies and their targets through molecular dynamics simulations and with free energy perturbation analyses providing information-rich output (Antibodyomics7 and 8). Functional interrogation of individual antibodies (Antibodyomics9) and synthetic antibody libraries (Antibodyomics10) also yields multi-dimensional data by which to understand and improve antibodies. Antibodyomics thus comprise resolution-enhancing tools, which collectively embody an information-driven discovery engine towards development of effective B cell-based vaccines. These efforts synergize with the efforts of my group at the Vaccine Research Center, NIH (see website at https://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/peter-kwong-phd-structural-biology-se...), which seeks to apply structural biology to the development of vaccines against HIV-1 and other human pathogens.