Scientific & Development Advisory Board

Constance A. Benson, MD, FACP, FIDSA

Dr. Benson joined NDA Partners as an Expert Consultant in 2019. She is a Professor of Medicine and Vice Chair for Education in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. She is the Co-Director of the UCSD Antiviral Research Center, the Principal Investigator of the UCSD NIH-sponsored CD4 Collaborative HIV Clinical Trials Unit (CTU), a senior investigator in the UCSD AVRC HIV Clinical Research Site and serves on the Executive Committee of the UCSD Center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics. She served as the UCSD Infectious Disease Training Program Director until 2020 and the Deputy Editor for Clinical Infectious Diseases until 2022. Dr. Benson also serves as the UCSD co-director for research capacity development for the NIH and PEPFAR-sponsored University of Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and Health Professions Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI) and co-leads research training efforts for the D43 training grants led by Dr. Emilia Noormahomed in Maputo, Mozambique, and Dr. Robert Schooley at UCSD. She also serves as the President of the CROI Foundation Board and as a member of the Scientific Program Committee responsible for directing the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). Dr. Benson received her MD degree, Cum Laude from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1978, completed her internal medicine residency at Rush University in Chicago in 1981, completed three years on active duty in the U.S. Navy as an internist in 1984, and completed her fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Rush University in 1986. She has mentored or co-mentored more than 100 medical students, residents, post-graduate research fellows and junior faculty engaged in infectious diseases research, and has published more than 300 primary manuscripts, review articles, and book chapters.

J. Thomas Cox, MD

Dr. Cox is an OB/GYN, with broad-ranging expertise on human papillomavirus (HPV) and the clinical management of women with abnormal cervical cytology and HPV-induced precancer. He is Past President of the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) and previously served as Chair of the ASCCP Practice Committee, which wrote the first U.S. guidelines for the management of women with abnormal cervical cytology. He has testified before Congress twice as an expert on HPV and has served on many national committees including every Gardasil HPV vaccine data safety monitoring board since 2002, multiple American Cancer Society expert advisory boards on HPV and gynecologic cancer, and on the Bureau of Primary Health Care Clinics Cancer Experts Advisory Panel. He also was the Executive Medical Director of the American Social Health Association’s National HPV and Cervical Cancer Prevention Resource Center, instituting a national program in 1999 to educate the public about HPV. Dr. Cox has published over 90 articles and chapters on HPV and cervical disease, and co-authored/co-edited the medical textbook Modern Colposcopy. Dr. Cox has received many honors, including the 2003 European Research Organization in Genital Neoplasia EUROGIN) Recognition and Distinguished Service Award for outstanding scientific achievements in HPV infection and dedication to research in the field of cervical neoplasia. In 2023 he received the ASCCP Lifetime Achievement Award. He received his BS in Pre-Med from the University of Oregon in 1968, his MD from Baylor College of Medicine and his residency in OB/GYN from Kaiser San Francisco.

William “Bill” Lee

Dr. Lee has over 37 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. His last role was Executive Vice President of Research at Gilead Sciences, overseeing the company’s research and preclinical programs across therapeutic areas. Earlier in his career at Gilead Sciences, he headed up all CMC activities, including commercial manufacturing thru the launch of Viread in 2001. Prior to joining Gilead Sciences, Bill was the head of Drug Delivery at California Biotechnology and started his career as a scientist at Syntex Research.┬áBill is co-inventor of Cellcept, Viread and Vemlidy (TAF). During his 30 year tenure at Gilead, he was involved in the discovery, development and launch of 18 commercial products. Bill received his B.S. from the University of Massachusetts and his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from UC San Diego. He did postdoctoral work at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and UC Santa Barbara.

Richard Whitley, MD

Dr. Whitley is a Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Vice Chairman for Research in the Department of Pediatrics and Co-Division Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. He also holds the titles of Loeb Eminent Scholar Chair in Pediatrics; Professor of Microbiology, Medicine, & Neurosurgery; Senior Scientist, Department of Gene Therapy; Co-Founder, Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance, and Associate Director, Drug Discovery and Development, Comprehensive Cancer Center. An expert on how antiviral therapies fight infections in children and adults, Dr. Whitley’s research spans four decades, during which he has published 401 scholarly articles on pediatric infectious disease. In 2019, Dr. Whitley was appointed by Dr. Anthony Fauci to chair the NIH-NIAID COVID-19 Data Safety and Monitoring Board. Today, he continues to serve as a member of the Steering Committee for the NIH Long COVID-RECOVER initiative. Dr. Whitley’s honors are numerous, including being named the inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Clinical Research Scholar and Educator in Residence at the NIH Clinical Center and received the 2020 National Foundation for Infectious Diseases John P. Utz Leadership Award for his work in the field of clinical virology. After attaining his medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine in 1971, Dr. Whitley completed his pediatric internship/residency and fellowship in infectious disease and virology at UAB from 1971 to 1976.

Thomas C. Wright, Jr., MD

Dr. Wright received his Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School; his pathology residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, and his fellowship in OB/Gyn Pathology at Columbia University. Dr. Wright served as the Director of the Division of Gynecologic, Perinatal, and Cytologic Pathology at Columbia University Medical Center and also headed the colposcopy services at New York Presbyterian Hospital for over 15 years. He is a Past President of the American Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and was the lead author of the 2001 and 2007 ASCCP Consensus Guidelines for the Management of Cytologic Abnormalities. He is now a Professor Emeritus at Columbia University and is involved in a variety of clinical trials focusing primarily on the development of diagnostic and risk-assessment tests for cervical disease both in the U.S. and low resource settings. He has published over 250 articles and chapters on HPV and cervical disease. In addition to clinical research, Dr. Wright is in active clinical practice as a gynecological pathologist at Labcorp.