George Mason University

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Yuntao Wu in the lab

In 2014, Mason virologist Yuntao Wu was awarded a $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funding that may lead to a way for curing HIV in the next five years.

On His Way to a Cure for HIV

Yuntao Wu wanted his research to matter.

Having spent years working on trying to build better pesticides, he decided instead to go in a different direction. Now, he's researching a cure for HIV.

“I chose HIV because it impacts so many people, and it’s tough to fight,” Wu said. He came to George Mason in 2003 and began working in the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, launching the university’s first HIV-­focused lab. 

He’s faced funding cutbacks through the years, and reacted with a researcher’s determination and tenacity. He has bicycled from Washington, D.C., to New York to raise money, and even took out a loan to keep the lab going. In May 2014, he was awarded a $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. 

He is as motivated by the patients he meets as he is by the student researchers with whom he works. 

"You meet HIV patients, [and] it makes you want to help more,” Wu said.