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Portrait of Dr. Joseph Kovacs
Joseph Kovacs, MD

Senior Investigator
Head, AIDS Section
Head, Scientific Director, 4D Lab

Critical Care Medicine

BA, Harvard University
MD, Cornell University Medical College


Portrait of Dr. Joseph Kovacs
Joseph Kovacs, MD

Senior Investigator
Head, AIDS Section
Head, Scientific Director, 4D Lab

Critical Care Medicine

BA, Harvard University
MD, Cornell University Medical College


Dr. Joseph Kovacs' research interests include the treatment and prevention of HIV infection, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), Pneumocystis pneumonia, and Toxoplasma gondii infection.

Dr. Kovacs is a senior investigator in the Clinical Center's Critical Care Medicine Department at the National Institutes of Health. Since 1987, he has served as head of CCMD's AIDS Section. He also is an associate clinical professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

He completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and obtained his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. After an internship and residency at New York Hospital, he came to the CC in 1982 for fellowships in infectious diseases and critical care.

He currently is active in several societies and organizations, including the American Society for Clinical Investigation (elected to membership in 1994) and the Association of American Physicians (elected in 1998). He has served on several editorial boards of professional journals in infectious diseases and drug resistance, including currently as associate editor of Journal of Infectious Diseases.

See his Intramural Research Program bio page.

Books and Book Chapters and Journal Reviews

Cissé OH, Ma L, Dekker JP, Khil PP, Youn J-H, Brenchley JM, Blair R, Paha B, Chabé M, Van Rompay KKA, Keesler R, Sukura A, Hirsch V, Kutty G, Liu Y, Li P, Chen J, Song J, Weissenbacher-Lang C, Xu J, Upham NS, Stajich JE, Cuomo CA, Cushion MT, and Kovacs JA. Genomic insights into the host specific adaptation of the fungus Pneumocystis to mammals. Commun. Biol. 2021 Mar 8;4(1):305. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-01799-7.

Migueles SA, Chairez C, Lin S, Gavil NV, Rosenthal DM, Pooran M, Natarajan V, Rupert A, Dewar R, Rehman T, Sherman BT, Adelsberger J, Leitman S, Stroncek D, Morse CG, Connors M, Lane HC, Kovacs JA. Adoptive Lymphocyte Transfer to an HIV-infected Progressor from an Elite Controller. JCI Insight. 2019 Sep 19;4(18). pii: 130664. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.130664.

Ma L, Chen Z, Huang DW, Cisse O, Rothenburger J, Latinne A, Bishop L, Blair R, Brenchley J, Chabe M, Deng X, Hirsch V, Keesler R, Kutty G, Liu Y, Margolis D, Morand S, Pahar B, Peng L, Van Rompay K, Song X, Song J, Sukura A, Thapar S, Wang H, Weissenbacher-Lang C, Xu J, Lee CH, Jardine C, Lempicki R, Cushion M, Cuomo C, and Kovacs JA. Diversity and complexity of the large surface protein family in the compacted genomes of multiple Pneumocystis species. mBio 2020 11(2). pii: e02878-19. doi: 10.1128/mBio.02878-19.

Kovacs JA. Pneumocystis Pneumonia. In "Cecil Textbook of Medicine" 25th edition. Ed. Goldman L and Schafer A. Elsevier, Burlington, MA (2015).

Montoya J, Boothroyd J, and Kovacs JA,. Toxoplasma gondii. In "Mandell Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases", 8th edition. Ed. Mandell GL, Bennett JE, and Dolin R. Churchill Livingstone, Inc., New York, NY (2015).

Kovacs J and Masur H. The Evolving Health Effects of Pneumocystis: One Hundred Years of Progress in Diagnosis and Treatment. JAMA 301:2578-85, 2009.

Morse CG, and Kovacs JA. Metabolic and Skeletal Complications of HIV Infection: The Price of Success. JAMA. 296:844-854, 2006.

Larsen HH, Masur H, and Kovacs JA. 2005. Current Regimens For Treatment And Prophylaxis of Pneumocystis jiroveciPneumonia. In Cushion MT and Walzer PD (ed). Pneumocystis Pneumonia, 3rd ed. Marcell Dekker, New York.

Kottilil S, Polis MA, and Kovacs JA. HIV Infection, HCV Infection and HAART: Difficult clinical decisions. JAMA. 292: 243-50, 2004.

Kovacs JA. General Immune-based Therapies in the Management of HIV-infected Patients. in "AIDS Therapy", 2nd edition. ed. Dolin R, Masur H, and Saag MS. Churchill Livingstone, Inc., New York, NY. 2003.

Kovacs JA, Gill VJ, Meshnick S, and Masur H. New insights into transmission, diagnosis, and drug treatment of P. cariniipneumonia. JAMA 286: 2450-2460, 2001.

Kovacs JA and Masur H. Prophylaxis against opportunistic infections in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection. N. Engl. J. Med. 342:1416-29, 2000.

Kovacs JA. Diagnosis of P. carinii pneumonia. In Shelhamer JH, moderator. The laboratory evaluation of pulmonary opportunistic infections. Ann. Intern. Med. 124: 585-599, 1996.

Walworth CM, Tavel JA, and Kovacs JA. "Treatment and prevention of opportunistic infections in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection" in Advances in Internal Medicine, Volume 41. Schrier RW, ed. Mosby Year Book, Inc. Chicago, IL, 1996.

Journal Articles

Kutty G, Davis AS, Ferreyra GA, Qiu J, Huang DW, Sassi M, Bishop L, Handley G, Sherman B, Lempicki R, Kovacs JA. β-glucans are Masked but Contribute to Pulmonary Inflammation During Pneumocystis Pneumonia. J Infect Dis. 2016, 214:782-91. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiw249.

Ripamonti C, Bishop LR, Kovacs JA. Pulmonary IL-17+ Lymphocytes Increase During Pneumocystis murina Infection But Are Not Required for Clearance of Pneumocystis. Infect Immun. 2017;85(7). pii: e00434-16. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00434-16.

Ma L, Chen Z, Huang DW, Kutty G, Ishihara M, Wang H, Abouelleil A, Bishop L, Davey E, Deng R, Deng X, Fantoni G, Fitzgerald M, Gogineni E, Goldberg JM, Handley G, Hu X, Huber C, Jiao X, Jones K, Liu Y, Macdonald P, Melnikov A, Raley C, Sassi M, Sherman BT, Song X, Sykes S, Tran B, Walsh L, Xia Y, Yang J, Young S, Zeng Q, Zheng X, Stephens R, Nusbaum C, Birren BW, Azadi P, Lempicki RA, Cuomo CA, and Kovacs JA. Genome analysis of three Pneumocystis species reveals adaptation mechanisms to life exclusively in mammalian hosts. Nat Commun 2016 Feb 22;7:10740. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10740.

Burbelo PD, Bayat A, Rhodes CS, Hoh R, Martin JN, Fromentin R, Chomont N, Hütter G, Kovacs JA, Deeks SG. HIV Antibody Characterization as a Method to Quantify Reservoir Size During Curative Interventions. J Infect Dis. 2014. 209:1613-7.

Sassi M, Ripamonti C, Mueller NJ, Yazaki H, Kutty G, Ma L, Huber C, Gogineni E, Oka S, Goto N, Fehr T, Gianella S. Konrad R, Sing A, and Kovacs JA. Outbreaks of Pneumocystis Pneumonia in Two Renal Transplant Centers Linked to a Single Strain of Pneumocystis: Implications for Transmission and Virulence. Clin. Infect Dis. 54:1437-44, 2012.

Morse CG, Voss JG, Rakocevic G, McLaughlin M, Vinton C, Huber C, Hu X, Yang J, Huang DW, Logun C, Danner RL, Rangel ZG, Munson PJ, Orenstein JM, Rushing EJ, Lempicki RA, Dalakas MC, and Kovacs JA. HIV Infection and Antiretroviral Therapy Have Divergent Effects on Mitochondria in Adipose Tissue. J. Infect Dis. 205:1778-87, 2012.

Srinivasula S, Lempicki RA, Adelsberger JW, Huang CY, Roark J, Lee PI, Rupert A, Stevens R, Sereti I, Lane HC, Di Mascio M, Kovacs JA. Differential effects of HIV viral load and CD4 count on proliferation of naive and memory CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes. Blood 118:262-70, 2011.

Morse CG, Mican JM, Jones EC, Joe GO, Rick ME, Formentini E, Kovacs JA. The Incidence and Natural History of Osteonecrosis in HIV-Infected Adults. Clin Infect Dis 44:739-48, 2007.

Kovacs JA, Lempicki RA, Sidorov I, Adelsberger JW, Sereti I, Sachau W, Kelly G, Metcalf JA, Davey RT, Falloon J, Polis MA, Tavel J, Stevens R, Lambert L, Hosack DA, Bosche M, Issaq HJ, Fox SD, Leitman S, Baseler MW, Masur H, Di Mascio M, Dimitrov DS, and Lane HC. Induction of Prolonged Survival of CD4+ T Lymphocytes by Intermittent IL-2 Therapy in HIV-infected Patients. J. Clin. Invest. 115:2139-2148, 2005.

Kovacs JA, Lempicki RA, Sidorov I, Adelsberger JW, Herpin B, Metcalf JA, Polis MA, Davey RT, Tavel J, Falloon J, Stevens R, Lambert L, Dewar R, Schwartzentruber DJ, Anver MR, Baseler MW, Masur H, Dimitrov DS, and Lane HC. Identification of dynamically distinct subpopulations of T lymphocytes that are differentially affected by HIV J. Exp. Med. 194:7131-1741, 2001.

Ma L, Borio L, Masur H, and Kovacs JA. Pneumocystis carinii dihydropteroate synthase but not dihydrofolate reductase gene mutations correlate with prior trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or dapsone use. J. Infect. Dis. 180: 1969 -1978, 1999.

Kovacs JA, Vogel S, Albert JM, Falloon J, Davey RT,Jr., Walker RE, Polis MA, Spooner K, Metcalf JA, Baseler M, Fyfe G, Dewar RJ, Masur H, and Lane HC. Controlled trial of interleukin-2 infusions in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus. N. Engl. J. Med. 335: 1350-1356, 1996.

Angus CW, Tu A, Vogel P, Qin M, and Kovacs JA. Expression of variants of the major surface glycoprotein of P. carinii. J Exp. Med.183:1229-1234, 1996.

Lipschik GY, Gill VJ, Lundgren J, Andrawis VA, Nelson NA, Nielsen JO, Ognibene FP, and Kovacs JA. Improved diagnosis of P. carinii infection by polymerase chain reaction in induced sputum and blood. Lancet. 340:203-206, 1992.

Lundgren B, Lipschik GY and Kovacs JA. Purification and characterization of a major human P. carinii surface antigen. J. Clin. Invest. 87:163-170, 1991.

Kovacs JA, Ng V, Masur H, Leoung G, Hadley WK, Evans G, Lane HC, Ognibene FP, Shelhamer JH, Parrillo JE, and Gill VJ: Diagnosis of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: improved detection in sputum with use of monoclonal antibodies. N Engl J Med 318:589-593, 1988.

Kovacs JA, Hiemenz JW, Macher AM, Stover D, Murray HW, Shelhamer JH, Lane HC, Urmacher C, Honig C, Longo DL, Parker MM, Natanson C, Parrillo JE, Fauci AS, Pizzo PA, and Masur H: Pnemocystis carinii pneumonia: a comparison between patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and patients with other immunodeficiencies. Ann Intern Med 100:663-671, 1984.

Visit for a full list of Dr. Kovacs' publications.

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Infectious Diseases-2002 to present
  • Harriet P. Dustan Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine, American College of Physicians, 2020
  • NIH Director’s Award for Scientific Achievement, 2019
  • Clinical Center Director’s Award, 2016
  • Feder Lectureship, Weil Cornell Medical College, 2012
  • Feder Lectureship, Weil Cornell Medical College, 2012
  • Clinical Center Director’s Award, 1999
  • Outstanding Service Medal, US Public Health Service, 1995
  • Young Investigator Award, 1993, Eastern Region, American Federation for Clinical Research
  • Young Investigator Award, 1988, Society of Critical Care Medicine
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation
  • Association of American Physicians

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This page last updated on 10/20/2022

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