About the Researchers

John A. Zaia, M.D., Chair, Center for Gene Therapy 

For 35 years, renowned genetic researcher John Zaia, M.D., has been a critical part of the DNA at City of Hope.

Dr. Zaia graduated from Harvard Medical School (HMS) and completed training in pediatrics and pediatric infectious disease. He was an instructor at Harvard Medical School and a clinical associate at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston before joining City of Hope in 1980. He served as City of Hope's director of Virology and Infectious Diseases within the Department of Pediatrics until 1999 when he assumed overall leadership of our Department of Virology.

Now, as director of the Center for Gene Therapy, Dr. Zaia aims to take the promise of gene and stem cell therapy to the next level, finding new ways to defeat cancer, AIDS and other diseases.

Dr. Zaia, the Aaron D. Miller and Edith Miller Chair in Gene Therapy, also directs the City of Hope Alpha Clinic, funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The clinic is dedicated to bringing novel therapies to patients as rapidly as possible.

The holder of a dozen patents and author of over 180 papers, Dr. Zaia is called a “visionary and a teacher” by his peers. His goal: “Not only to provide research to benefit patients in the future, but get these innovative treatments running in real-life clinics to benefit patients now.”


Kevin V. Morris, Ph.D., Associate Chair, Center for Gene Therapy

“I really am stoked on learning about the basic fabric of our existence ... the complexity is mind-boggling.”

For more than a decade, Kevin Morris, Ph.D., has been one of the brightest lights in RNA research.

Dr. Morris was the first to recognize unique properties of noncoding RNA; he is considered an international leader in the field.

The goal of his work, in his words, is “to understand the role of noncoding RNA in life, evolution and selection.” and to use that knowledge to develop novel therapies for AIDS, cancer and other diseases.

At the Center for Gene Therapy, Dr. Morris focuses on manipulating RNA in a variety of ways to control and repress HIV-1.

Dr. Morris has led research laboratories at the renowned Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, as well as the University of New South Wales, Australia. His relationship with City of Hope began in 2004 with researcher and adjunct professor positions at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope.

Learn more about his research.



Angelo A. Cardoso, M.D., Ph.D., Research Professor

Angelo Cardoso, M.D., Ph.D., is a research professor and the director of the Laboratory for Cellular Medicine at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope.

Dr. Cardoso was educated in Portugal, where he received his medical degree. He earned his Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Paris, after completing doctoral research work in France, Portugal and here in the U.S. at the Harvard's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He spent a decade at Harvard/Dana-Farber as an instructor of medicine, then became a faculty member and a research investigator at the Indiana University School of Medicine where he taught medicine and molecular genetics.
At the Center for Gene Therapy, Dr. Cardoso oversees the manufacturing of gene-modified cell products for ongoing clinical trials. These trials include studies of gene-modified or hematopoietic stem cells for transplantation in HIV, glioblastoma or sickle cell disease patients. He is also responsible for the supervision of large-scale process development for the clinical translation of new genome-editing and gene transduction methodologies for cell therapy clinical trials.