Tun-hou Lee
Emeritus Faculty

Tun-hou Lee

Professor of Virology, Emeritus

Immunology and Infectious Diseases




Professor Lee's major research interests are virus-specific antigens and their association with disease manifestations, viral replication, and host-virus interactions, with particular focus on human and related primate retroviruses.

Currently, Professor Lee is focusing on the modification of the antigenicity of HIV envelope protein for vaccine development. His work has contributed to the development of serologic testing for the human leukemia virus (HTLV-I) and HIV. He was the first to identify the envelope gene products of HTLV-I, HTLV-II and HIV, and demonstrated that the envelope antibody is the most important marker for screening individuals for infection with the human retroviruses. This information became the basis for serologic tests for blood bank screening. He also identified the putative transforming protein of HTLV-I, which was also the first observation of a retrovirus protein linked to a cancer that was not an oncogene product.

Professor Lee has also worked to identify the immune response to HIV envelope protein and outcome of human immunodeficiency virus infection. His work on HIV envelope protein revealed that an association exists between progress to AIDS and the lack of certain envelope antibodies. Professor Lee has been a recipient of the junior investigator award from the Leukemia Society of America and the Swedish Medical Research Council postdoctoral fellowship award.

B.P.H, 1976
National Taiwan University

S.M., 1978
Harvard School of Public Health

D.Sc., 1982
Harvard School of Public Health


Breastfeeding plus infant zidovudine prophylaxis for 6 months vs formula feeding plus infant zidovudine for 1 month to reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission in Botswana: a randomized trial: the Mashi Study.

Thior I, Lockman S, Smeaton LM, Shapiro RL, Wester C, Heymann SJ, Gilbert PB, Stevens L, Peter T, Kim S, van Widenfelt E, Moffat C, Ndase P, Arimi P, Kebaabetswe P, Mazonde P, Makhema J, McIntosh K, Novitsky V, Lee TH, Marlink R, Lagakos S, Essex M.

JAMA. 2006 Aug 16. 296(7):794-805. PMID: 16905785


Harvard AIDS Initiative: The Movie

November 2013 -- What starts as a story of death and ignorance becomes a chronicle of discovery and success. To mark its 25th anniversary, the Harvard AIDS Initiative created a short video outlining major accomplishments and the work…

Infectious diseases & pandemics

[Fall 2013 Centennial issue] Today, noncommunicable diseases account for two-thirds of all deaths globally. But in low-income nations, three largely preventable infectious diseases—lower respiratory infections, diarrheal infections, and HIV/AIDS—are the leading killers, with malaria, tuberculosis, and neonatal infections…