Joseph A. Kovacs, M.D.

Senior Investigator

AIDS Section

NIH Clinical Center

Building 10, Room 2C145
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

Dr. Kovacs is a senior investigator in the NIH Clinical Center's Critical Care Medicine Department. Since 1987, he has served as head of CCMD's AIDS Section. For the past 25 years he has worked as a clinical investigator at the NIH Clinical Center, focusing on HIV and HIV-related complications. He has been a principal or associate investigator on multiple protocols studying the treatment of HIV infection and management of HIV-related opportunistic infections. He also has a longstanding interest in immune-based therapeutic approaches to the management of HIV infection. More recently, as HIV has become a chronic disease requiring lifelong antiretroviral therapy, his team's studies have focused on characterization and management of non-infectious complications associated with HIV infection or with antiretroviral therapy. He also runs a research lab that focuses on the basic biology of Pneumocystis, an important pathogen of HIV-infected as well as other immunosuppressed patients. His laboratory is interested in characterizing the genome of Pneumocystis species, in better understanding the epidemiology of Pneumocystis infection in humans, in characterizing host-organism interactions, and in identifying critical host immune responses to Pneumocystis.


Dr. Kovacs 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 NIH Clinical Center in 1982 for fellowships in infectious diseases and critical care. He also is an associate clinical professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He has served on several editorial boards of professional journals in infectious diseases, and is currently an associate editor of The Journal of Infectious Diseases. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the Association of American Physicians (AAP), and a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

Honors and Awards
NIH Bench-to-Bedside Research Award, 2010-2011, 2007-2008, 2006-2007, and 2005-2006; Clinical Center Director's Award, 1999 and 2016; U.S. Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation, 1995, and Outstanding Service Medal, 1995; Young Investigator Award, American Federation for Clinical Research (Eastern Region), 1993; USPHS Unit Commendation, 1991, Commendation Medal, 1990, and Incentive Award for Scientific Achievement, 1989; Young Investigator Award, Society of Critical Care Medicine, 1988; Alpha Omega Alpha.

Selected Publications

  1. Ma L, Chen Z, Huang da W, Kutty G, Ishihara M, Wang H, Abouelleil A, Bishop L, Davey E, Deng R, Deng X, Fan L, Fantoni G, Fitzgerald M, Gogineni E, Goldberg JM, Handley G, Hu X, Huber C, Jiao X, Jones K, Levin JZ, 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, Kovacs JA. Genome analysis of three Pneumocystis species reveals adaptation mechanisms to life exclusively in mammalian hosts. Nat Commun. 2016;7:10740.
  2. 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 SF, 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;4(18).
  3. Cissé OH, Ma L, Wei Huang D, Khil PP, Dekker JP, Kutty G, Bishop L, Liu Y, Deng X, Hauser PM, Pagni M, Hirsch V, Lempicki RA, Stajich JE, Cuomo CA, Kovacs JA. Comparative Population Genomics Analysis of the Mammalian Fungal Pathogen Pneumocystis. mBio. 2018;9(3).
  4. Cissé OH, Ma L, Dekker JP, Khil PP, Youn JH, Brenchley JM, Blair R, Pahar B, Chabé M, Van Rompay KKA, Keesler R, Sukura A, Hirsch V, Kutty G, Liu Y, Peng L, Chen J, Song J, Weissenbacher-Lang C, Xu J, Upham NS, Stajich JE, Cuomo CA, Cushion MT, Kovacs JA. Genomic insights into the host specific adaptation of the Pneumocystis genus. Commun Biol. 2021;4(1):305.
  5. Bishop LR, Davis AS, Bradshaw K, Gamez M, Cisse OH, Wang H, Ma L, Kovacs JA. Characterization of p57, a Stage-Specific Antigen of Pneumocystis murina. J Infect Dis. 2018;218(2):282-290.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Friday, April 22, 2022