Peter S. Kim

Peter S. Kim
Born (1958-04-01) April 1, 1958
Institutions Merck & Co., Inc.
Alma mater Stanford University, Cornell University
Known for Discovering how proteins cause cell membranes to fuse, and pioneering efforts to develop an HIV vaccine based on inhibiting membrane fusion.
Peter S. Kim Lab at Stanford

Peter S. Kim, Ph.D., is an American scientist. He was president of Merck Research Laboratories (MRL), 2003-2013 and is currently Virginia & D.K. Ludwig Professor of Biochemistry at Stanford University.[1]

Early life and education

Kim is of Korean descent. Kim grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey the son of a single mother, and his first job was in 1974 at a Roy Rogers restaurant, where he earned money to pay for college.[2] Kim earned his A.B. in chemistry at Cornell University in 1979 and trained as a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Stanford University under the guidance of Robert Baldwin. While at Stanford, he was also a Medical Scientist Training Program Fellow.

Research career

Later, Kim was a Whitehead Fellow at the Whitehead Institute before joining Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a Professor of Biology and as a Member of the Whitehead Institute and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.[3][4]

Kim has a special interest in HIV / AIDS research and designed compounds that stop membrane fusion by the AIDS virus, thereby preventing it from infecting cells, and has pioneered efforts to develop an HIV vaccine based on similar principles. Kim also served as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Advisory Committee to develop an AIDS vaccine.[3]

Kim joined the Company in 2001 as executive vice president, Research and Development. He was promoted to president in January 2003. In this role Kim oversaw all of Merck's drug and vaccine research and development activities.[4] [5]

During his tenure, Merck gained approval of more than 20 new medicines and vaccines. These include Januvia (the first DPP-4 inhibitor for type 2 diabetes), Gardasil (the first vaccine for prevention of cervical cancer), Isentress (the first HIV integrase inhibitor), Zostavax (the first vaccine for the prevention of shingles in adults), Rotateq (an oral vaccine for the prevention of rotavirus infection in infants), and Victrelis (the first hepatitis C protease inhibitor). In 2013, he retired from Merck and was succeeded by Roger Perlmutter[6] [7]

His research and work in improving human health has earned Kim numerous awards and other recognition. He is a member of the National Academy of Science, the Institute of Medicine, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Biophysical Society.[3][8]


Current board memberships and other affiliations

Elected memberships



  1. "MERCK RESEARCH LABS CHIEF PETER KIM TO JOIN STANFORD'S DEPARTMENT OF BIOCHEMISTRY". Stanford Engineering. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  2. Kim, Peter S. "MY FIRST JOB; Howdy, Buckaroo, Here's Your Apron", The New York Times, March 11, 2011. Accessed December 16, 2013. "My mother was a single parent and worked hard to make ends meet. I realized that in order to attend college, I would have to get a job. A Roy Rogers restaurant was opening near Ridgewood, N.J., my hometown, and I was hired on the spot to work there."
  3. 1 2 3 Peter S. Kim Research Papers
  4. 1 2 "Peter S. Kim Ph.D". Business Week. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  5. Kim Papers Website
  6. Thomas, Katie (7 March 2013). "Merck Replaces Its Research Chief". New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  7. "Merck Announces Appointment of Roger M. Perlmutter, M.D., Ph.D., As President of Merck Research Laboratories; Peter S. Kim, Ph.D., to Retire". Reuters. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  8. "Bench Strength". bench & bedside. February 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  9. Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry
  10. The Hans Neurath Award of the Protein Society
  11. American Academy of Arts & Sciences 2008 Class of Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members
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