Dan H. Barouch, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Director, Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, BIDMC; Member, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard

Dr. Barouch’s laboratory focuses on studying the immunology and virology of HIV-1 infection and developing novel vaccine strategies. He has also recently demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of potent monoclonal antibodies and the early seeding of the viral reservoir. His laboratory received three NIH U19 Integrated Preclinical/Clinical AIDS Vaccine Development (IPCAVD) program grants in 2005, 2008, and 2012 to construct alternative serotype adenovirus vaccine vectors, to explore their immunogenicity and protective efficacy in rhesus monkeys, and to advance optimal vaccine candidates into clinical trials. Four phase 1 clinical trials with these vectors have been completed in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. His laboratory also received an NIH U19 grant in 2011 to establish a consortium for AIDS vaccine research in nonhuman primates and four Gates Foundation consortium grants in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 to develop replicating adenovirus vectors, nonhuman primate adenovirus vectors, novel Env protein immunogens, and therapeutic broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies in both preclinical studies and clinical trials. His group is a key part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), the NIH Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Design (CHAVI-ID), and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard.

John Mellors

John Mellors, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburg
Chief, Division Infectious Diseases, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Mellors led several studies with samples from the multicenter AIDS cohort study (MACS) that established the critical relationship between plasma viremia (HIV-1 RNA) and HIV disease progression to AIDS and death in both acute and chronic HIV-1 infection. This work led to the universal use of plasma HIV-1 RNA and CD4+T-cell counts to estimate prognosis in HIV-1 infection and the optimal time to initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART). Dr. Mellors contributed to the development and testing of the first antiretroviral combinations that produced sustained suppression of viremia and recovery of CD4+T-cells that launched the current era of highly-effective ART. Presently, Dr. Mellors’ laboratory focuses on resistance to antiretroviral drugs used for treatment and HIV prevention and on mechanisms of HIV persistence and strategies to deplete the reservoirs that are the barrier to curing HIV infection. His work on HIV reservoirs showed that low-level viremia persists in most individuals on long-term suppressive ART and that the level of residual viremia is predicted by the level of viremia before ART. Current work focuses on identifying agents to reverse HIV latency and to eliminate HIV infected cells. The impact of innovative therapies on HIV reservoirs is being studied in Phase I/II trials of histone deacetylase inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies to immune checkpoint ligands, monoclonal antibodies to HIV envelope glycoproteins, and TLR agonists.

Col. Nelson Michael, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, US Military HIV Research Program, MHRP

Nelson L. Michael is the Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program  (MHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Col. Michael has guided MHRP through the completion of the RV144 HIV vaccine study in Thailand, which provided the world’s first demonstration that a preventive HIV vaccine was possible. He has also been recently involved in vaccine development for Ebola, MERS-CoV, and Zika virus. Col. Michael currently serves on President Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, is a Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University and serves on multiple Advisory Boards for the NIH, PEPFAR and other international organizations. He graduated summa cum laude from University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in biology, and from Stanford University with MD and PhD (cancer biology) degrees. He trained in internal medicine at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital. Col. Michael has co-authored more than 260 papers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Galit Alter, Ph.D.

Galit Alter, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Medicine at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard and leads a laboratory that collectively works towards the single goal of developing novel vaccine approaches aimed at recruiting and directing the antiviral activity of the innate immune system to kill virally infected cells. Dr. Alter received her Ph.D. in Experimental Medicine from McGill University and performed her post-doctoral work under Dr. Marcus Altfeld at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Her current research interests lie at the intersection of the innate immune response and the adaptive humoral immune response, with a focus on defining the role of innate immune recruiting antibodies in providing specificity to the innate immune system to kill virally infected cells. Specifically, Dr. Alter’s work focuses on developing high-throughput assays aimed at dissecting the “protective profiles” and functional activity of polyclonal pools of antiviral antibodies induced via vaccination or during natural infection. To this end her laboratory has established high-throughput assays that simultaneously interrogate the functional activity of polyclonal pools of antibodies in tandem to defining the biophysical features of the most functional humoral immune responses. Together, Dr. Alter utilizes these data to then selectively purify the most “protective” antigen-specific B cells for RNA sequencing, to enable to production of the most potent therapeutic antibodies and to learn about the underlying mechanism by which protective B cell responses are programmed to aide in the development of next generation vaccines that may direct the antiviral activity of the innate immune response.

Jintanat Ananworanich, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Jintanat Ananworanich serves as the Associate Director for Therapeutics Research at the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP). In this role, Dr. Ananworanich oversees adult HIV therapeutic trials as part of the NIH-funded MHRP Clinical Trials Unit under the AIDS Clinical Trials Group. She has more than 200 publications and is currently the principal investigator on the MHRP/NIAID-funded acute HIV infection study, RV254. In addition to membership on the steering committee of the Pediatric European Network for Treatment of AIDS and the steering Committee of the IAS Towards an HIV Cure Initiative, Dr. Jintanat is a member of the ACTG and the IMPAACT HIV Cure committees and co-chairs the acute HIV infection working group of the ACTG and the clinical research working group of the Forum Cure Project. Dr. Ananworanich received her medical degree from Prince of Songkhla Medical School in Thailand. Following medical school she studied HIV dendritic cells as a volunteer researcher in the lab of Dr. Anthony S. Fauci at NIAID. Dr. Ananworanich went on to complete a pediatric residency at the University of Chicago and fellowships in allergy and immunology clinical and laboratory immunology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. In addition, Dr. Ananworanich received her Ph.D. in Medicine from the University of Amsterdam with Professor Joep Lange.

Dennis Burton, Ph.D.

Dennis Burton is the Chair and Professor in the Department of Immunology and
Microbiology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA. He was recently
awarded the James and Jessie Minor Chair in Immunology. He received his B.A.
in Chemistry from Oxford University and his Ph.D from Lund University, Sweden
in physical biochemistry. He is the Scientific Director of the International AIDS
Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) Neutralizing Antibody Consortium and Neutralizing
Antibody Center, Director of The Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and
Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-­ID) at Scripps, and a member of the Ragon
Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Boston, USA. He has held many research
grants from the NIH and has published more than 400 papers in scientific
journals. He has received numerous awards including the Jenner Fellowship of
the Lister Institute and a Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology.
His research is focused on infectious disease, in particular the interplay of
antibodies and highly mutable viruses, notably HIV. He is interested in the
potential of broadly neutralizing antibodies to inform vaccine design.

Bette Korber, Ph.D.

Dr. Bette Korber is a Theoretical Biologist, working as a Laboratory Fellow and Scientist Level 6 at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. She works in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group and also has joint appointment working with the New Mexico Consortium. Dr. Korber received her Ph.D. from Caltech in the field of immunology, and did a first postdoc at Harvard studying retroviral evolution before coming to Los Alamos in 1990.

She heads the HIV sequence and immunology database project at Los Alamos, which provides a curated collection of published HIV sequence and immune response data gathered from around the globe, as well as computational tools to help researchers make sense of the data. She leads an interdisciplinary team that provides bioinformatics, theoretical, and statistical support in collaborative efforts with experimental researchers, focusing on the areas of viral diversity and the human immune response to infection.   The primary aim of her work is the design of global HIV vaccines, developing strategies to enable the construction of a vaccine that could potentially contend with HIV’s extreme diversity. She has been fortunate to work closely with extraordinary experimentalist colleagues, primarily based at Duke, Oxford and Harvard, and through these collaborations some of her vaccine design concepts have been tested and have made significant progress in the many-year process of development — several of her vaccine designs have shown significant promise in animal studies, and are currently being evaluated in human clinical trials.

Some of her awards and honors include:

2004                 E.O. Lawrence Award, Department of Energy’s highest scientific honor
2005                 Finalist, Wired Magazine’s Rave Award for “People Who Change People’s Minds”
2009                 One of 20 women who have made a difference in New Mexico
2014                  Thomson Reuters listing: World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds, in microbiology.
2016                 Award for mentoring postdoctoral scientists, Los Alamos National Laboratory
2016                 Norman Letvin Scholar, Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology
2017                 Secretary of the Dept. of Energy award for work on the Ebola Task Force

Please see her Google scholar page for a listing of her publications.

https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=wFMWxAIAAAAJ&hl=en

When not sitting at a computer staring at HIV sequences, Bette can be found happily losing arguments to her clever sons, making music in a local Celtic band, outside enjoying the natural beauty of New Mexico, or working to increase local political awareness of scientific and environmental issues.

Thumbi Ndung’u, Ph.D.

Thumbi Ndung’u is an Investigator and Max Planck Research Group Leader at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa. He is Professor and Victor Daitz Chair in HIV/TB Research and Director of the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal.  He holds the South African Research Chair in Systems Biology of HIV/AIDS. He is an Adjunct Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is the Programme Director of the Sub-Saharan Africa Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence (SANTHE), a research and capacity building initiative funded by the Wellcome Trust.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences in Public Health (Virology) from Harvard University, United States. He is on the advisory board of the Global Health and Vaccination Research Programme (GLOBVAC), The Research Council of Norway, and is a member of the External Advisory Board of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN).

His research interests are host-pathogen interactions, particularly immune mechanisms of HIV and TB control. He has co-authored numerous manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. He has received grant funding from the South African National Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Wellcome Trust among others. He is leading a multidisciplinary team of researchers working in the fields of HIV and TB immunopathogenesis, vaccine development and immune-based HIV functional cure strategies. He has special interest in capacity building for biomedical research in Africa.

https://www.ahri.org/scientist/thumbi-ndungu/

http://hivmedicine.ukzn.ac.za/HIVPathogenesisProgramme.aspx

Sharon Riddler

Robert Siliciano, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Robert F. Siliciano is a Professor of Medicine and Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  In 1995, his laboratory provided the first demonstration that latently infected memory CD4+ T cells were present in patients with HIV-1 infection. He showed that latently infected cells persist even in patients on prolonged antiretroviral therapy (ART).  These studies indicated that eradication of HIV-1 infection with ART alone would never be possible, a finding which led to a fundamental change in the treatment strategy for HIV-1 infection. This latent reservoir is now recognized as the major barrier to curing HIV-1 infection and is the subject of an intense international research effort.  Dr. Siliciano’s laboratory has gone on to characterize the reservoir and to explore strategies for eradicating it. In addition, Dr. Siliciano has developed a theoretical foundation for understanding the success of ART in controlling HIV-1 replication.

Dr. Siliciano graduated from Princeton and received his MD and PhD degrees from Johns Hopkins.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, he joined the Hopkins faculty. He has received the Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and two NIH Merit Awards.  He is a past Chairman of the NIH AIDS and Related Research Study Section. For 16 years, he directed the Hopkins MD-PhD Program, and he now serves as an advisor for MDPhD students. In 2008, he received a major award in AIDS research, the Bernard N. Fields Memorial Lecture at the Conference for Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.