Born in China, she grew up in the United States attending St. Mary's Hall,
Burlington, NJ, the National Cathedral School, Washington, DC, and
Wellesley College. She received B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees (microbiology,
1966) from Johns Hopkins University. As a graduate student she was the first
to purify and characterize defective interfering (DI) viral particles. Her
postulate that these mutants play a major role in viral pathogenesis
stimulated work on many viral systems and currently provides an important
avenue for controlling diseases especially of plants. Her postdoctoral
work at the Salk Institute with David Baltimore on vesicular stomatitis
virus (VSV) led to a later discovery of theirs at MIT of the VSV
virion-associated RNA-dependent RNA polymerase which led the way to David
Baltimore's discovery of reverse transcriptase.
Dr. Huang was appointed Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular
Genetics at Harvard Medical School in 1971 and became full Professor in
1979. During that time she also served as coordinator of the Virology
Unit at the Channing Laboratories of Infectious Diseases at Boston City
Hospital for two years and Director of the training program funded by the
National Cancer Institute on "Virus-Host Interactions in Cancer" for
fifteen years. Her research focused on the molecular characterization of
VSV: its viral RNA species and regulatory mechanisms during replication.
She was the first to demonstrate that RNA and DNA enveloped viruses,
including HIV and HSV, phenotypically mix their surface glycoproteins
resulting in alterations of antigenicity and host range.
In 1979 Dr. Huang became the Director of the Laboratories of Infectious
Diseases at Children's Hospital in Boston. There she established a unit
working on viral diseases of pediatric patients under a Rockefeller
Foundation Geographic Medicine Center Grant. She also initiated an AIDS
unit which became the second NIH pediatric Clinical Trials Group.
Dr. Huang has been recognized by the American Society for Microbiology
with the Eli Lilly Award in Immunology and Microbiology (1977) followed
by election to that Society's President in 1988-1989. She has honorary
doctorates of science from Wheaton College, Mt. Holyoke College, and the
Medical College of Pennsylvania. She served on the Board of Trustees of
UMass and Shady Hill School. She is a fellow of the Academia Sinica in
Taiwan (1991) and of American Women in Science (1998).
As an administrator Dr. Huang is particularly interested in education, in
career mentoring, and in policy issues related to science and technology.
Since coming to Caltech, where her husband David Baltimore is the President,
Dr. Huang has joined the Pasadena League of Women Voters, the Board of the
Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences, and the Pacific Council
on International Policy.
Dr. Huang resides in Pasadena, California, and has one daughter in New York City.