Beatrice H. Hahn, MD

Professor / University of Pennsylvania

Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania 409 Johnson Pavilion 3610 Hamilton Walk Philadelphia, PA 1910

Beatrice Hahn is a virologist and biomedical researcher who is recognized for deciphering the primate origins of human immunodeficiency viruses types 1 and 2 (HIV-1 and HIV-2).


Dr. Hahn has a long-standing interest in elucidating the origins and evolution of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses, and in studying HIV/SIV gene function and disease mechanisms from an evolutionary perspective.

Training and Education

  • 1982
    Intern, University Of Munich
  • 1981
    MD, University Of Munich

Research Interests

The focus of Dr. Hahn and her lab revolves around working on emerging infectious diseases and building basic and translational research programs in global health. Their current projects involve:

  • Studies of HIV-1 transmission for which they devised a way to infer the nucleotide sequence of HIV-1 strains that are responsible for initiating productive infection. They are interested in determining whether these transmitted/founder viruses have biological properties that render them uniquely suited for mucosal transmission.
  • Studies of ape Plasmodium infections. Given the size of the ape Plasmodium reservoir, her team examines the parasite, host and ecological factors that control cross-species transmission.The lack of in vitro culture systems poses a significant challenge to the functional studies of ape Plasmodium parasites, but whole genome sequencing, even from suboptimal specimens such as subpatently infected unprocessed blood, represents a critical first step towards understanding their biology.
  • Studies of SIVcpz infection of wild chimpanzees. Dr. Hahn’s lab is interested in exploring the impact of SIVcpz infection on chimpanzee population dynamics and will continue their natural history studies in the Gombe National Park and other sites in Tanzania. 4. Studies in HIV vaccine development. Dr. Hahn and her team are focused on studying HIV-1 diversification, in particular, theyh are examining how understanding the pathways of virus and antibody coevolution can inform immunogen design to elicit broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies.