Douglas Nixon Douglas Nixon
Adjunct Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine

Office Phone: 202-994-3532
Email: Email
Department: Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine


  • D.Phil., University of Oxford, 1992


Douglas F. Nixon, M.D., Ph.D., was appointed chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine (MITM) and Walter G. Ross Professor of Basic Science Research at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) in October 2013. He joins MITM faculty and staff at an exciting time, as SMHS has recently opened new labs that serve as the home of the NIH-funded Research Center for Neglected Diseases of Poverty. Under Nixon’s leadership, the department will establish itself as a world-class research center and collaborative hub, as well as contribute to new discoveries for biomarkers, diagnostics, vaccines, and novel treatments for HIV/AIDS, hookworm, and other neglected tropical diseases.

A renowned scientist and educator, Nixon has actively pursued immunovirology research for more than 25 years, with his studies spanning from clinical research and human immunology, to basic virology and molecular biology. Born in Cambridge, U.K., he received his Bachelor’s degree in immunology from University College London with first class honors. In the mid-1980s, Nixon left London for the University of Oxford, where he trained as a pathologist at a time when the HIV/AIDS epidemic had just begun to spread. In his first six months as a clinical virologist, Nixon identified a piece of the human immunodeficiency virus that could stimulate a white blood cell. A substantial finding at the time, this discovery led to an article in the journal “Nature,” with Nixon as the lead author.
After obtaining a Master’s degree and a Doctorate in Immunology, Nixon left Oxford to focus his efforts on creating an HIV vaccine. Working in New York at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, he was responsible for the HIV cellular immunology lab and made several important scientific contributions. Because of these contributions, Nixon was awarded the Elizabeth Glaser Scientist Award. In 2000, he joined the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology in San Francisco, and in 2006, Nixon became professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and associate chief of the Division of Experimental Medicine. In this position, he served as the primary mentor for numerous postdoctoral fellows, students, and several National Institutes of Health (NIH) Individual Career Development (K) awardees, before coming to the George Washington University.
Among his many accomplishments, Nixon gained recognition for publishing the first identification of an HIV specific cytotoxic T cell (CTL) epitope. He has published more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including first- or senior-author publications in Nature, PNAS, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PLoS Pathogens, and holds several patents. He has also held positions at the University of Oxford and The Rockefeller University.
Most recently, Nixon was named as one of the 2012 POZ 100, which is an elite group of scientists, researchers, advocates, politicians, and celebrities who are recognized by POZ Magazine for their significant contributions to speeding up the end of AIDS. In Washington D.C., where the prevalence of HIV infection is among the highest in the nation, Nixon hopes that the team within the department of MITM can contribute towards research that might lead to a cure.

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For more information, please visit the Nixon lab website. 

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None