Leon Lai

leon laiLeon Lai, MD, is an attending physician in the Section of Infectious Diseases at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. In addition, he is an associate professor of Medicine at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Dr. Lai is committed to furthering the care of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the DC area, particularly in the underserved communities of this region.

He is interested in research into the use of antiretroviral therapy in HIV and in assessing new antiretroviral compounds and combinations. He also is interested in the metabolic, gastrointestinal and renal complications of HIV, as well as opportunistic infections in HIV. His past research topics have included the pathologic changes and cytokines in the intestinal lumen of patients with HIV and malabsorption.

At the Hospital Center, Dr. Lai serves as associate program director, Department of Internal Medicine, and associate fellowship program director for the Section of Infectious Disease. In addition, he is program director for the Ryan White HIV/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) early intervention program, which funds outpatient care for people living with HIV. This program provides a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary medical home for a large cohort (95 percent African American, 55 percent female) of HIV-positive DC residents. Dr. Lai collaborates with other Hospital Center physicians to ensure that these patients have access to research protocols, including those of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group Network.

In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Dr. Lai serves on the Toxoplasmosis Subcommittee of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council Working Group. In this capacity, he is working on the "Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents." His prior experience includes work as an HIV consultant, Plymouth County Correctional Facility.

Dr. Lai is a winner of the Edward H. Kass Award for Clinical Excellence, awarded by the Massachusetts Infectious Diseases Society, and of the Elmer E. Hinton Book Prize, awarded by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and he is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Lai received his medical degree from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Boston, and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the Tufts New England Medical Center, Boston.

Research Interests

Dr. Lai's research interests include

  • Infectious diseases
  • HIV and antiretroviral therapy
  • HIV and adherence/retention
  • Human papillomavirus and anal dysplasia in HIV
  • Heart transplant infections
  • Orthopedic infections

Selected Research

Prospective Evaluation of Albuminuria in HIV

Dr. Lai is the site primary investigator for this multicenter study sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Development of a City-Wide Cohort of HIV-Infected Persons Receiving Care in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the United States. Dr. Lai is collaborating with the DC Cohort study, a project funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to establish a clinic-based city-wide longitudinal cohort of adults and children with HIV who receive outpatient care in Washington, DC. This collaboration among twelve DC treatment clinics will be used to improve the quality of care for outpatients with HIV/AIDS in Washington, DC.

Selected Publications

Hadigan C, Edwards E, Rosenberg A, Purdy J, Fleishman E, Howard L, Mican JM, Sampath K, Oyalowo A, Johnson A, Adler A, Rehm C, Smith MA, Lai LL, Kopp JB. Microalbuminuria in HIV Disease. American Journal of Nephrology, 2013;37:443-451.

Lai L, Knox TA, Gorbach SL. Effects of HIV on gastrointestinal function. In Textbook-Atlas of Intestinal Infections in AIDS. D. Dionisio, ed. Milano: Springer-Verlag, Italia, 2003.

Golan Y, Lai L, Hadley S. Candidiasis. In Therapy of Infectious Diseases. L. Baddour and S.L. Gorbach, eds. Philadelphia: Elsevier Science, 2003.

  • Research Areas
  • Other Medical