Constance A. Benson, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine and Global Public Health, Senior Attending Physician, and the Vice Chair for Education and ID Training Program Director for the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at University of California, San Diego. She is also the Director of the UCSD Antiviral Research Unit (AVRC), the Principal Investigator (PI) of the UCSD CD4 Collaborative HIV Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) and the Clinical Research Site (CRS) Leader for the UCSD AVRC HIV Clinical Research Site. Dr. Benson received her M.D. degree, Cum Laude from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1978, completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Rush University Medical College in Chicago in 1986 after serving three years on active duty in the U.S. Navy as an internist. She was recruited to the faculty of Rush University in the Division of Infectious Diseases in 1986; to the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado at Denver in 1997; and to the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCSD in 2005.
Dr. Benson is an internationally-recognized researcher and clinician working in the fields of HIV and TB clinical and translational investigation since 1984. From 1995 to 2003, Dr. Benson served as the Vice Chair and led the Scientific Agenda Steering Committee, and from 2003 to 2010 served as the Principal Investigator and Chair of the Executive Committee of the NIH/NIAID AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) Network. The ACTG Network, originally established in 1987, is a multicenter, multinational, therapeutic clinical and translational investigation network with research sites in 13 countries. During her 15 years in the leadership of the ACTG network, and under her scientific and administrative direction, the ACTG expanded its HIV therapeutic research activities to establish international clinical research sites in countries most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Haiti, Brazil, Peru, India, and Thailand. She oversaw the establishment, training and development of virology, immunology, and pharmacology research laboratories in the US and at international sites, a pharmacogenomics research effort and DNA specimen repository in both the US and internationally for use in HIV-related genomics research, and developed site laboratory capacity to conduct sophisticated diagnostic testing for HIV, tuberculosis, fungal infections and other infectious complications of HIV/AIDS to support ACTG Network trials. She further led the expansion of the ACTG Network activities to include investigational interventions to treat hepatitis B and C and tuberculosis in both mono- and co-infected individuals as part of the network’s scientific agenda. Currently, as the PI of the UCSD CD4 Collaborative CTU and Director of the UCSD Antiviral Research Center, she manages an extensive portfolio of clinical and translational research projects, grants, and contracts, and oversees the conduct of multiple national and international multicenter clinical trials in the fields of HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, influenza, tuberculosis and other HIV-related opportunistic complications of global health impact. Her own major areas of research interest include Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other non-tuberculous mycobacterial diseases, other HIV-related opportunistic infections, new antiretroviral drug development, and the treatment of HIV infection and its complications in resource-limited international settings. Most recently her research has focused on the treatment and prevention of HIV-associated tuberculosis, and the development of rapid, point-of-care diagnostic assays for resource-limited settings. Dr. Benson also serves as the UCSD co-director for research capacity development for the NIH-sponsored University of Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and two D43 training grants led by Dr. Emilia Noormahomed in Maputo, Mozambique and Dr. Robert Schooley at UCSD. Dr. Benson has also served as a member of the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council (OARAC) from 2000 to 2003 (Chair from 2001 to 2003), numerous NIH ad hoc study sections, on the Scientific Program Committees for the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), and the International AIDS Society (IAS), and on the Board of Directors of the International Antiviral Society-USA, the CROI Foundation Board, the Zimbabwe AIDS Treatment Assistance Project Board, and of Christie’s Place (a non-profit organization supporting women and families affected by HIV infection in San Diego). She serves as a reviewer for 12 major medical journals, as Associate Editor for Clinical Infectious Diseases, and lectures frequently both nationally and internationally on topics within her areas of research and clinical expertise. Dr. Benson is a member of the International AIDS Society, the IDSA, the HIV Medicine Association of the IDSA, the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and the American College of Physicians. Her contributions to the field of HIV/AIDS are numerous. To date, she has published more than 225 original manuscripts, invited reviews, and book chapters, mentored more than 50 trainees in their research and clinical training in ID, and maintains active clinical duties as a subspecialist in Infectious Diseases, HIV and Global Health within the UCSD Health System in San Diego.