Purnell Choppin, M.D.
Chair, Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Choppin is president emeritus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI); he served as president from 1987 through 1999. HHMI, with an endowment of approximately $18 billion, is a medical research organization which employs over 340 investigators based at approximately 70 medical schools, universities, and research institutes across the country. It also operates an extensive grants program for science education at every level from elementary school through postdoctoral training and an International Research Scholar Program involving approximately 110 scientists in 28 countries. He is a Principal in The Washington Advisory Group, LLC, which provides strategic counsel and management consulting activities to universities, governments, and not-for-profit organizations.
Dr. Choppin moved to HHMI from The Rockefeller University in New York, where he was Leon Hess Professor of Virology, vice president for academic programs, dean of graduate studies, and head of the laboratory of virology. Before joining The Rockefeller University as a fellow in 1957 and as a faculty member in 1959, he served as an intern and resident in internal medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, and as a medical officer in the Air Force. He received his medical degree from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 1953.
Dr. Choppin is a member of many scientific and professional societies, including the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), American Philosophical Society (APS), American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Association of American Physicians. He has served as a member of the Council, chairman of Class IV (medical sciences) and of the Section on Microbiology and Immunology of the NAS. He is currently a member of the Council of the APS and has served as vice president. In 1985-86 he was president of the American Society for Virology. He has served as a member of the Council and Executive Committee of the Institute of Medicine and as a member of the Governing Board of the National Research Council. His honors and awards include the Howard Taylor Ricketts Award from the University of Chicago in 1978, the Selman A. Waksman Award for excellence in microbiology from the NAS in 1984, and several honorary degrees.
As an advisor, Dr. Choppin has served many governmental and private organizations. He has been a member of the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the AIDS Advisory Committee, and the Virology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. He has served on advisory groups for the American Cancer Society, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board, the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.