By Kambiz Shekdar, Ph.D.
On April 22, 2022, epidemiologist John Rockefeller was announced as the latest director to join the board of Research Foundation to Cure AIDS (RFTCA). Originating from a Nobel-Prize winning laboratory at The Rockefeller University, RFTCA’s core Chromovert® Technology can increase the efficiency of stem cell strategies to cure HIV infection and AIDS. Formerly at Clinton Health Access Initiative, Mr. Rockefeller’s addition is intended to maximize the impact of RFTCA’s cellular biotechnology for global health.
Mr. Rockefeller, JD, MPH, DrPH says: “Throughout my career as an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist, I have focused my attention on prevention, and containment. Never did I dare push my dream toward an attainable cure for AIDS. The mere concept of such a cure seemed impossible. Having now seen the irrefutable proof for an actual cure—and not only for AIDS—but as a platform for other infectious disease cures, I am honored to join the Research Foundation to Cure AIDS Board of Directors. I know my many external research partners and donors will want to join us in this heretofore unthinkable outcome of curing AIDS.”
Starting in the early 1980’s in San Francisco and continuing into Sub-Saharan Africa with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the long-term focus of Mr. Rockefeller’s career has been with HIV/AIDS. In addition, Mr. Rockefeller has been targeting the epidemiologic intersection of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), Tuberculosis (TB), Malaria, Ebola and most recently SARS.CoV.2. Mr. Rockefeller trained at Johns Hopkins as an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and Biostatistician. His career has been spent in philanthropic leadership roles across the global healthcare landscape with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and Wellcome Trust. He also directed national and global mental health programs, most notably in partnership with William Randolph Hearst III.
As a tool in the genetic engineer’s toolkit that supplements CRISPR and enables the crafting of highly desired cells that had previously remained out-of-reach, the validated Chromovert Technology has numerous applications including drug discovery, personalized medicine, biologics and cell therapy, including CAR-T and viral vector production applications for HIV/AIDS cell and gene therapies. Previously, the technology was used to discover and develop a clinical stage novel non-addictive pain blocker fast-tracked by the FDA and presented at Gov. Chris Christie’s panel on the opioid epidemic at The White House, and in strategic flavors research with The Coca-Cola Company, Kraft Foods and Nestle to cut salt and sugar in the diet.
In 2007, 2019 and 2022, the only three patients ever cured of AIDS were reported. All three cures were achieved using HIV-resistant stem cell therapies. RFTCA’s current goal is to use its technology to translate the science underlying these index cures to research and develop a safe and effective cell therapy for all those in need regardless of ability to pay.
As President of RFTCA, my hope and goal is to realize full potential of our technology. John Rockefeller’s expertise enables us to identify new ways to use our cellular biotechnology to make the greatest impact for science and human health. I and all of RFTCA’s current board members are grateful to welcome John to the team.
Board of Directors of the Research Foundation to Cure AIDS:
RFTCA Board Chair Karen Hagberg, Esq
RFTCA President Rockefeller University Alumnus & Biotech Inventor Kambiz Shekdar, PhD
Rockefeller University Robert & Harriet Heilbrunn Professor & Head of Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology Professor Ali Hemmati-Brivanlou, PhD
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biologists (FASEB) President Patricia Morris, PhD
John Rockefeller, JD, MPH, DrPH
Chromocell Corporation CEO Christian Kopfli
Havas Health Plus President & Chief Creative Office Allison Ceraso
James Hough, Esq
Jesse Robert Lovejoy, Esq
Rockefeller University alumnus and biotech inventor Kambiz Shekdar, Ph.D., is the president of Research Foundation to Cure AIDS and Science & LGBTQ editor at WestView News.