David Stephens, MD

Contact PI, LG Chair
David Stephens, MD

Contact Information


Dr. Stephens served as the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, at Emory 1992-2013 and led the development of very successful programs in clinical infectious diseases, microbial pathogenesis, vaccines and clinical research. He has been a major contributor to the creation and development of the highly successful NIH-funded Emory Vaccine Center, The Hope Clinic and Emory’s Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU), the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit (SCDU) at Emory. He was the founding principal investigator for Georgia’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), a multi-institutional research and clinical trials partnership funded (2007) and refunded (2012 and 2017) by NIH.

Dr. Stephens has led research initiatives in the School of Medicine (Executive Associate Dean 2005-2008) and currently as the Vice President of Research (2008-present) of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC). Examples of successful research initiatives in WHSC include, revising Emory’s clinical trials infrastructure, the Emory-Georgia Tech-UGA partnerships in immuno-engineering, regenerative medicine (REM), infectious diseases and glycomics; the recognition of Emory’s Winship Cancer Center as an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Emory-Children’s Pediatrics Center and the Queensland-Emory Development (QED) Alliance. He is also professor of microbiology and immunology in the School of Medicine and professor of epidemiology at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health. His laboratory is an international leader in efforts to define the molecular basis for the virulence of and vaccines to prevent bacterial meningitis, especially disease caused by the respiratory tract pathogens Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae. He has also contributed to understanding the genital tract and sexually transmitted pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae. He has contributed to more than 300 publications in infectious diseases, molecular pathogenesis, epidemiology, vaccinology and immunology.

In 1988 Dr. Stephens co-founded the Atlanta Active Surveillance Project (now the Georgia Emerging Infections Programs), a population-based surveillance and clinical research program focused on emerging infections and vaccine impact. In 2001 he led CDC's clinical emergency response team in defining clinical issues in prophylaxis, diagnosis and treatment of B. anthracis infections and has contributed to efforts to combat other emerging infectious diseases threats such as epidemic meningitis, SARS and recently Ebola viral disease. Dr. Stephens has been engaged as an effective leader of complex consortia including the launching and development of the GaCTSA, was the Emory PI of the NIAID-sponsored Southeastern Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense (SERCEB), led the CDC-supported Southeastern Center for Emerging Biologic Threats (SECEBT), and the NIH-funded Exploratory Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Vaccinology (ECIRVE). He founded and directed the Emory University NIH K30/MSCR Clinical Research Curriculum Award (now an education component of the CTSA), served previously as the interim chair and executive vice chair of the Department of Medicine at Emory (1999-2005) and in 2016-2017 was Interim Dean of Emory University School of Medicine.

He is a member of the Association of American Physicians and the American Academy of Microbiology and is a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American College of Physicians, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on NIH, Veterans Affairs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review panels. He was chair of the FDA National Vaccine Advisory Committee, a liaison member of the Health and Human Services National Vaccine Advisory Committee and is standing Senior Scientific Consultant to the CDC Meningitis and Special Pathogens Branch. He currently serves as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).