Dr. Peter J. Hotez
Scientist, Researcher, Author, Science explainer
Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also the Co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. He is also University Professor at Baylor University, Fellow in Disease and Poverty at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Senior Fellow at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University, Faculty Fellow with the Hagler Institute for Advanced Studies at Texas A&M University, and Health Policy Scholar in the Baylor Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy.
Dr. Hotez is an internationally-recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development. As co-director of the Texas Children’s CVD, he leads a team and product development partnership for developing new vaccines for hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and SARS/MERS/SARS-2 coronavirus, diseases affecting hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide, while championing access to vaccines globally and in the United States.
In December 2021, Dr. Hotez led efforts at the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development to develop a low-cost recombinant protein COVID vaccine for global health, resulting in emergency use authorization in India.
He obtained his undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics from Yale University in 1980 (phi beta kappa), followed by a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Rockefeller University in 1986, and an M.D. from Weil Cornell Medical College in 1987. Dr. Hotez has authored more than 600 original papers and is the author of five single-author books, including Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases (ASM Press); Blue Marble Health: An Innovative Plan to Fight Diseases of the Poor amid Wealth (Johns Hopkins University Press); Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism (Johns Hopkins University Press); and Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time of Anti-science (Johns Hopkins University Press).
Dr. Hotez served previously as President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and he is founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. In 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative he co-founded the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases to provide access to essential medicines for hundreds of millions of people.
He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (Public Health Section) and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (Public Policy Section). In 2014-16, he served in the Obama Administration as US Envoy, focusing on vaccine diplomacy initiatives between the US Government and countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2018, he was appointed by the US State Department to serve on the Board of Governors for the US Israel Binational Science Foundation, and is frequently called upon frequently to testify before US Congress. He has served on infectious disease task forces for two consecutive Texas Governors. For these efforts in 2017 he was named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the 34 most influential people in health care, while in 2018 he received the Sustained Leadership Award from Research!America.
In 2022 Hotez and his colleague Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for “their work to develop and distribute a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine to people of the world without patent limitation.”
Most recently as both a vaccine scientist and autism parent, he has led national efforts to defend vaccines and to serve as an ardent champion of vaccines going up against a growing national “antivax” threat. In 2019, he received the Award for Leadership in Advocacy for Vaccines from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In 2021 he was recognized by scientific leadership awards from the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the AMA (American Medical Association), in addition to being recognized by the Anti-Defamation League with its annual Popkin Award for combating antisemitism. Dr. Hotez appears frequently on television (including BBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC), radio, and in newspaper interviews (including the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal).