Roger Detels

Roger Detels M.D., M.S., Distinguished Research Professor of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases, began his research career at the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit in Taipei, Taiwan in 1966.  In 1969 he joined the research staff of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and Stroke. In 1971, he moved to the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, his current affiliation. During his tenure at UCLA, he served as Chair of Epidemiology (1971-1980, 2000-2005, and 2010-2013) and as Dean of the School of Public Health (1980-1985). In 2009, he received the UCLA Academic Senate Committee on Teaching “Distinguished Teaching Award”, and in 2012, the Academic Senate Faculty Research Lectureship Award. 

Professor Detels served as president of the Society of Epidemiologic Research (1977-1978), as secretary-treasurer of the Association of Schools of Public Health (1983-1985), as treasurer of the International Epidemiologic Association (IEA) (1983-1990), and as president of the IEA from 1990-1993. He served on the Council of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences from 1990-1994, on the Board of Directors for the American College of Epidemiology from 1987-1989, and as chair of the Science Review Panel for the Environmental Protection Agency from 1982-1985. In 1993, he was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2008, he was selected for the Abraham Lilienfeld Award for Excellence in Epidemiology by the American Collage of Epidemiology, and in 2011, was the Cruikshank Lecturer for the International Epidemiological Association. 

Professor Detels has conducted research on air pollution, multiple sclerosis and other neurologic diseases, hypertension, and several infectious diseases, including trachoma, capillariasis and Japanese encephalitis. He began his research in HIV/AIDS in 1981 when he initiated a natural history study of AIDS in young homosexual men in Los Angeles.  In 1983 he became the principal investigator of the Los Angeles Center for the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), one of the largest natural history studies of HIV/AIDS in the world. He has published over 300 papers on the epidemiology, natural history, immunology, genetics and biology of HIV-1 infection in a total of 500 research papers. He was a co-editor of the 1st and 2nd editions of The Oxford Textbook of Public Health, the senior editor for the 3rd-6th editions, the last of which has been retitled The Oxford Textbook of Global Public Health and the senior editor of Public Health in East and Southeast Asia. 

In 1988, Professor Detels initiated the UCLA/Fogarty International Training Program in Epidemiology Related to HIV/AIDS with funding from the Fogarty International Center. The program has trained over 100 health professionals at the masters and doctoral level at UCLA from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, India, China, Vietnam, Laos, Hungary, and Brazil who have become public health leaders in their respective countries.  He has assisted the governments of Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Indonesia in the development of their HIV/AIDS sentinel surveillance systems. He has received awards from the governments of Thailand, Cambodia and China for his contributions to training and research in their countries. Professor Detels continues to be very active in HIV/AIDS and public health research in both the United States and Asia.  


  • MS, Preventive Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • MD, Medicine, New York University, New York, NY
  • BA, Biochemistry, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Areas of Interest

  • Epidemiology
  • International public health
  • Control of HIV infection in Southeast Asia and China
  • Resistance to HIV
  • Epidemiology of immune disorders

Current Research Interests

  • Immunologic responses to HIV
  • Natural history of HIV/AIDS
  • Surveillance strategies for HIV
  • Intervention policies for HIV/AIDS control
  • Resistance to HIV and AIDS
  • The molecular epidemiology of HIV infection in Asia
  • Epidemiology and control of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Evaluation of strategies to control injection drug use in developing countries

Selected Publications


  • Li L, Hien NT, Lin C, Anh Tuan N, Anh Tuan L, Farmer SC, Detels R. An intervention to improve mental health and family well-being of injecting drug users and family members in Vietnam. Psychol Addict Behav 2014; 28(2), 607-613. PMC4170952 
  • Sullivan SG, Wu Z, Cao X, Liu E, Detels R; for the National Methadone Maintenance Treatment Working Group. Continued drug use during methadone treatment in China: A retrospective analysis of 19,026 service users. J Subst Abuse Treat 2014; 47(1):86-92. PMC4343304 
  • Ding Y, He N, Shoptaw S, Gao M, Detels R. Severity of club drug dependence and perceived need for treatment among a sample of adult club drug users in Shanghai, China. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 2014; 49(3):395-404. PMC3797173 
  • Althoff KN, Jacobson LP, Cranston RD, Detels R, Phair JP, Li X, Margolick JB; for the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS). Age, comorbidities, and AIDS predict a frailty phenotype in men who have sex with men. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2014; 69(2):189-98. PMC4038242 
  • Vendrame E, Hussain SK, Crabb Breen E, Magpantay L, Widney DP, Jacobson LP, Variakojis D, Knowlton ER, Bream JH, Ambinder RF, Detels R, Martinez-Maza O. Serum levels of cytokines, and biomarkers for inflammation and immune activation, and HIV-associated non-Hodgkin B cell lymphoma risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2014; 23(2):343-9. PMC3948172 
  • Thapa DR, Hussain SK, Tran WC, D'souza G, Bream JH, Achenback CJ, Ayyavoo V, Detels R, Martínez-Maza O. Serum microRNAs in HIV-infected individuals as pre-diagnosis biomarkers for AIDS-related non-Hodgkin lymphomas (AIDS-NHL). J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2014; 66(2):229-37.  
  • Gingo MR, Balasubramani GK, Rice TB, Kingsley L, Kleerup EC, Detels R, Seaberg EC, Greenblatt RM, Holman S, Huang L, Sutton SH, Bertolet M, Morris A. Pulmonary symptoms and diagnoses are associated with HIV in the MACS and WIHS cohorts. BMC Pulmonary Med 2014; 14(1):75. PMC4021087 
  • Tang H, Mao Y, Shi CX, Han J, Wang L, Xu J, Qin Q, Detels R, Wu Z. Baseline CD4 cell counts of newly diagnosed HIV cases in China: 2006-2012. PLoS One 2014; 9(6):e96098. PMC4047021 
  • McKenney J, Smith RM, Chiller TM, Detels R, French A, Margolick J, Klausner JD; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence and correlates of cryptococcal antigen positivity among AIDS patients – United States, 1986-2012. MMWR 2014; 63(27):585-587. 
  • Babu GR, Jotheeswaran AT, Mahapatra T, Mahapatra S, Kumar A Sr, Detels R, Pearce N. Is hypertension associated with job strain? A meta-analysis of observational studies. Postgrad Med J 2014; 90(1065):402-9. 
  • An P, Winkler C, Detels R, Kirk GD, Goedert J, Buchbinder S, Donfield S. Regulatory variation in HIV-1 dependency factor ZNRD1 associates with host resistance to HIV1 acquisition. J Infect Dis 2014; 210(10):1539-48. [PubMed - in process] 
  • Yu W, Wang L, Han N, Zhang X, Mahapatra T, Mahapatra S, Babu GR, Tang W, Detels R, Zhao J. Pre-exposure prophylaxis of HIV: A right way to go or a long way to go? Artif Cells Nanomed Biotechnol 2014; 31:1-8. PMC4312541 
  • Tang W, Babu GR, Li J, Zhang Y, Fu G, Huan X, Tucker JD, Zhao J, Detels R. The difference between HIV and syphilis prevalence and incidence cases: results from a cohort study in Nanjing, China, 2008-2010. Int J STD AIDS 2014 Sep 23. pii: 0956462414550170.  [Epub ahead of print] 
  • Seaberg EC, Witt MD, Jacobson LP, Detels R, Rinaldo CR ,Young S, Phair JP, Thio CL. Differences in hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence and clearance by mode of HIV1 acquisition among men who have sex with men (MSM). J Viral Hepatitis 2014; 21(10):696-705. 
  • Viswanathan S, Detels R, Mehta SH, Macatangay BJ, Kirk GD, Jacobson LP. Level of adherence and HIV RNA suppression in the current era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). AIDS Behav 2014; 19(4):601-11. 
  • Aziz N, Butch AW, Quint JJ, Detels R. Association of blood biomarkers of bone turnover in HIV-1 infected individuals receiving anti-retroviral therapy (ART). J AIDS Clin Res 2014; 5. pii: 1000360. PMC4332849