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Faculty

Rafi Ahmed, PhD

Rafi Ahmed is the Director of the Emory Vaccine Center. The research in his laboratory focuses on adaptive immune responses to vaccination and viral infection. His goal is to understand the mechanisms of immunological memory and to use this knowledge to develop new and more effective vaccines.

Email: rahmed@emory.edu

John D Altman, PhD

Our MHC tetramer technology has played an essential role in defining the distribution of T cell subsets specific for a variety of pathogens, and this continues to be a central focus of the work in our laboratory. We are interested in both defining the relationships between T cell phenotypes and effector functions that can be assessed using short-term in vitro assays (that do not require amplification of T cell populations), as well as using adoptive transfer experiments in mouse models that permit in vivo testing of the efficacy of purified T cell subsets.

Email: john.altman@emory.edu

Rama Rao Amara, PhD

The goal of our lab is to develop vaccines for HIV/AIDS. Our efforts are focused on developing both prophylactic (preventative) as well as therapeutic (curative) vaccines. Our DNA/MVA HIV vaccine has completed Phase II in humans and newer versions are about to enter human safety trials.

Email: ramara@emory.edu

Larry J. Anderson, MD

Our laboratory uses in vitro tissue culture and animal models to study the pathogenesis of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease for vaccine and anti-viral drug development. We are also using in vitro tissue culture models of RSV and rhinovirus infections to understand the pathogenesis of asthma and identify treatment options.

Email: larry.anderson@emory.edu

Robert Bednarczyk, PhD

Dr. Bednarczyk's research focus is in the prevention of cervical cancer and other human papillomavirus related diseases through the use of HPV vaccination.

Email: rbednar@emory.edu

Steven Bosinger, PhD

Bosinger focuses his own research on understanding the mechanisms by which non-pathogenic species avoid disease during HIV/SIV infection and identifying correlates of immunity in candidate HIV vaccines.

Email: steven.bosinger@emory.edu

Jeremy M. Boss, PhD

We examine the mechanisms that regulate the major histocompatibility complex class-II gene system, which is responsible for the presentation of antigens to the immune system. We also study the regulation of the programmed death-1 (PD-1) gene. PD-1 functions to dampen and restrict immune responses during persistent infections, such as those associated with HIV. By understanding the mechanisms that govern regulation of these genes, reagents may ultimately be designed to help improve vaccination and combat chronic conditions.

Email: jmboss@emory.edu

Richard W Compans, PhD

Our laboratory works on developing vaccines for prevention of viral diseases, including infection by HIV, influenza, and Ebola viruses. By assembling virus-like particles bearing the surface proteins of these viruses we are producing antigens presented at high density in a particulate form, which are capable of inducing potent immune responses, thereby pre-arming the immune system against the virus. We are also collaborating on new approaches for delivery of antigen to the skin, as a more effective and attractive approach designed to replace hypodermic needles and syringes.

Email: rcompan@emory.edu

Max D Cooper, MD

My laboratory pursues ontogenetic and phylogenetic studies of the adaptive immune system in parallel with the analysis of immunological diseases in humans. Current projects include the role of immunoglobulin and non-immunoglobulin genes in normal and abnormal B cell development, and the evolution of alternative adaptive immune systems in vertebrates.

Email: mdcoope@emory.edu

Cheryl L. Day, PhD

Our research focuses on cellular immunology of chronic infections in humans. We are particularly interested in understanding what constitutes protective T cell immunity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, both in the presence and absence of HIV co-infection.

Email: cday@emory.edu

Carlos Del Rio, MD

Dr. del Rio's research interests include early diagnosis of HIV, access to care and compliance with antiretrovirals for hard-to-reach populations. He is also interested in combination (biomedical and behavioral) prevention of HIV infection and the translation of research findings into practice and policy. Dr. del Rio is the Clinical Site Leader for the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) and the site PI for the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) of the NIAID/NIH.

Email: cdelrio@emory.edu

Cynthia A. Derdeyn, PhD

Dr. Derdeyn's laboratory investigates the interplay between neutralizing antibodies and viral escape variants in early HIV-1 infection, the immunopathogenesis of SIV infection in nonhuman primate models, and how antibodies mediate vaccine-induced protection against SIV. These studies will reveal clues about how to induce protective antibodies with a vaccine against HIV-1.

Email: cderdey@emory.edu

Mary Galinski, Ph.D.

Dr. Galinski's laboratory investigates malaria from many perspectives, involving human and non-human primate infections, to enable the development of new interventions. We study host-pathogen interactions, invasion and immunobiological evasion strategies, molecular mechanisms of antigenic variation and pathogenesis. Our multidisciplinary program includes investigations in vaccine and drug testing, epidemiology and systems biology.

Email: mary.galinski@emory.edu

Arash Grakoui, Ph.D.

Dr. Grakoui is an Associate Professor jointly appointed in the Departments of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology and Immunology at the Emory University School of Medicine. His laboratory is focused on understanding the host immune response to hepatitis C virus in order to better facilitate vaccine development.

Email: arash.grakoui@emory.edy

Henry Blumberg, MD

Henry M. Blumberg, MD is a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Emory University School of Medicine and Professor of Epidemiology and Global Health at the Emory Rollins School of Public Health. He also serves as Director of Clinical and Translational Research Training Programs at Emory and for the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI, the NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award [CTSA]). He is also the Chair of the Infection Control Committee at Grady Memorial Hospital, a major Emory teaching affiliate.  Dr. Blumberg¿s academic interests focus on tuberculosis-related research, global health, and clinical and translational research training. 

Email: hblumbe@emory.edu

Eric Hunter, PhD

Dr. Hunter's research is primarily centered on understanding the host and viral factors that modulate HIV heterosexual transmission and early viral disease in African populations. The goal is to apply the knowledge gained from immunological, immunogenetic, molecular and virologic studies in HIV-1 heterosexual transmission pairs to HIV vaccine development.

Email: eric.hunter2@emory.edu

Christian C Ibegbu. PhD

Dr. Ibegbu has over 20 years of experience in the study of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. He has extensive experience in multiparameter flow cytometric analysis of HIV-infected individuals and in particular, pediatric patients. He is currently an assistant professor and associate director of Emory Center for AIDS research Immunology Core Laboratory, which is involved in the development, standardization, and optimization of several state-of-the-art assays of cellular immune function for Human and nonhuman Primates. Dr. Ibegbu also provides training for investigators throughout the world and collaborates with various researchers on immunological studies.

Email: cibegbu@emory.edu

Joshy Jacob, PhD

Research in Dr. Jacob's lab focuses on (a) understanding how humoral immune responses are generated, maintained and regulated, and (b) host immune responses to variant influenza viruses.

Email: jjacob3@emory.edu

Paul Johnson, MD

R. Paul Johnson, MD, is director of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He most recently served as director of the New England Primate Research Center (NEPRC), chairman of the NEPRC Division of Immunology and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Murali Krishna Kaja, PhD

The focus of the research in the Kaja laboratory is to understand the mechanisms by which innate and adaptive immune systems interact together in response to infections or vaccines and generate the most efficient protective immune memory.

Email: murali.kaja@emory.edu

Frances Eun-Hyung Lee, MD

As a pulmonary immunologist, her research focus is in understanding the biology of human plasma cells in health and disease in bone marrow, blood, and respiratory tissues.  Recently, her laboratory has identified a unique phenotype of human long-lived plasma cells (LLPC) in the bone marrow, and she is interested in understanding the mechanisms of how LLPC are generated and maintained.

Email: f.e.lee@emory.edu

Vincent C. Marconi, MD

The main focus of Dr. Marconi's research is to identify the biological, social and behavioral conditions which lead to disparities in HIV treatment response for domestic and international populations. Results from these studies inform the design of interventional trials with the goal to improve the quality of life for individuals living with HIV.

Email: vcmarco@emory.edu

Edward S Mocarski, PhD

His research interest is in the biology and pathogenesis of cytomegalovirus (CMV), and his group has made key contributions to the identification of replication functions, latent reservoir in myelomonocytic progenitors, immunomodulatory functions, and cellular response to viral infection. Most recently, study of viral functions that modulate host cell intrinsic activation and death pathways has brought understanding of cell death pathways in host defense and development.

Email: mocarski@emory.edu

Martin L. Moore, PhD

Dr. Martin L. Moore is Associate Professor and Interim Director of Research in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine. His laboratory is woking on virology and vaccine discovery for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human rhinovirus (RV), and other respiratory viruses. The lab uses reverse genetics systems to manipulate viral genomes for the generation of novel vaccine constructs, followed by pre-clinical vaccine testing.

Email: martin.moore@emory.edu

Alberto Moreno, MD

Our research areas of interest are the development of multi-stage malaria vaccines and elucidation of the mechanistic events involved in malaria pathogenesis. Notably, vaccine candidates have been optimized using recombinant chimeric constructs, novel viral vectors and heterologous prime boost immunization strategies. We use NHP models and systems biology tools to understand the dynamics of the host-parasite interaction.

Email: camoren@emory.edu

Mark Mulligan, MD

Dr. Mulligan conducts vaccine trials and translational studies of human immune responses to pathogens and/or vaccines. His laboratory performs applied immunology and microbiology assays including antibody binding and functional assays, and T and B lymphocyte assays. The laboratory includes BD LSR Fortessa, cell sorter, BACTEC MGIT 320, and multiplex instruments.

Email: mark.mulligan@emory.edu

Dr. Saad Omer, MBBS, MPH, PhD

Dr. Omer's research portfolio includes clinical and field trials to estimate efficacy and/or immunogenicity of influenza, polio, measles and pneumococcal vaccines; studies on the impact of spatial clustering of vaccine refusers; and studies to evaluate the impact of maternal immunization on fetal and infant outcomes. He has conducted several studies to evaluate interventions to reduce vaccine refusal and hesitancy.

Email: somer@emory.edu

Walter A. Orenstein, MD

Walter Orenstein is PI of the Influenza Pathogenesis & Immunology Research Center (IPIRC), a multi-disciplinary project devoted to understanding better how influenza viruses adapt and transmit in human hosts and immune responses that prevent or ameliorate infection. He collaborates with Kaiser Permanente Georgia to epidemiologically evaluate vaccine safety and effectiveness, and is a consultant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on polio eradication.

Email: worenst@emory.edu

Mirko Paiardini, PhD

Our research program focuses on studies of HIV/AIDS pathogenesis. We follow a comparative approach using humans and nonhuman primate models of pathogenic and nonpathogenic HIV/SIV infections with the aims to (i) define the immunological features allowing SIV-infected natural hosts to avoid progression to AIDS and (ii) design therapeutic intervention to mimic these features in HIV-infected humans.

Email: mirko.paiardini@emory.edu

Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Associates, Graduate Students, and Junior Faculty

Jyothi Rengarajan, PhD

Dr. Rengarajan's research program centers on understanding the mechanisms of tuberculosis (TB) pathogenesis and host immunity to infection in mice and humans. TB remains an enormous global public health challenge and developing new vaccines and immune-therapeutics for TB, are important goals of her research efforts. She also conducts translational patient-based research to study human immunity to latent and active TB in metro Atlanta and aims to identify diagnostic biomarkers of infection and disease.

Email: jrengar@emory.edu

Ignacio Sanz, MD

Ignacio Sanz, MD is a board-certified practicing rheumatologist with major emphasis on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Dr. Sanz was Chief of the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology at the University of Rochester since 1996 until his move to Emory in 2012 as the Mason I. Lowance Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Director of the Lowance Center for Human Immunology and Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Scholar in Human Immunology.

Dmitry Shayakmetov, PhD

The main focus of Dr. Shayakhmetov's research program has been on improving our understanding of the role of innate immunity in initiating and exacerbating inflammation in response to viral (adenovirus) and bacterial pathogens, and tissue damage. The interplay between pro-inflammatory IL-1- and TNF-dependent signaling pathways in the context of infection and sterile tissue damage is the current focus of his research. Specifically, he is interested to understand the role of non-apoptotic pro-inflammatory cell death in triggering devastating local and systemic inflammation, associated with severe acute bacterial infections, sepsis, and several autoimmune and autoinflammatory disorders.

Guido Silvestri

Dr. Silvestri's laboratory is interested in studies of HIV infection and AIDS pathogenesis, prevention, and therapy using the non-human primate model of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection. His research has focused on the mechanisms by which SIV infection is non-pathogenic in African monkeys that are natural hosts for the virus, on understanding the immune correlates of protection from virus replication, and more recently, on deciphering the immunological aspects of HIV latency and persistence.

Email: gsilves@emory.edu

Samuel H Speck, PhD

The Speck lab focuses on the pathogenesis of gammaherpesviruses, which are associated with the development of lymphomas and several other types of cancers. These viruses establish a chronic infection in the host, and we seek to understand how virus infection is maintained and what factors predispose some infected individuals to develop cancer.

Email: sspeck@emory.edu

Mehul Suthar, PhD

Research in our lab focuses on how host cells detect, respond, and regulate immunity to viral infection. In particular, we are interested in how pattern recognition receptors, like the RIG-I like receptors, regulate innate immune, humoral, and cell-mediated responses during virus infection.

Email: mehul.s.suthar@emory.edu

David S. Weiss, PhD

We study the interaction of bacterial pathogens with the host, focusing on Francisella tularensis, a potential bioweapon, and Acinetobacter baumannii, a highly antibiotic-resistant and hospital-acquired pathogen. We characterize novel bacterial proteins used to evade innate immune defenses and facilitate antibiotic resistance. This work is aimed towards the development of novel therapeutics and vaccines.

Email: david.weiss@emory.edu

Jens Wrammert, PhD

The Wrammert laboratory is focused on understanding the induction and maintenance of human B cell mediated immunity after infection or vaccination with influenza, dengue, cholera or HIV. These studies will further our understanding of B cell responses against infectious diseases and vaccines, as well as guide future efforts in vaccine design and development.

Email: jwramme@emory.edu