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

William Bosworth Castle 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 pathogenesis of viral infections and developing novel vaccine and treatment strategies. We have led the development of vaccine candidates for multiple pathogens of global significance, including HIV, Zika virus, tuberculosis, and most recently SARS-CoV-2. We received four NIH U19 Integrated Preclinical/Clinical AIDS Vaccine Development (IPCAVD) program grants in 2005, 2008, 2012, and 2018 to construct adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vectors, mosaic immunogens, and Env proteins and to evaluate these vaccine candidates in preclinical and clinical studies. Phase 3 clinical efficacy trials are underway with our mosaic Ad26/Env vaccine. We applied the Ad26 vector to the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, which led to the J&J Ad26.COV2.S vaccine, which is now being rolled out throughout the world. We received two NIH U19/UM1 grants in 2011 and 2016 to establish consortia for innovative AIDS research (CIAR) in nonhuman primates and two NIH UM1 Martin Delaney Collaboratory (MDC) grants in 2016 and 2021 to develop HIV-1 cure strategies. In addition, we received Gates Foundation consortium grants consortium grants to develop replicating adenovirus vectors, novel Env protein immunogens, broadly neutralizing antibodies, biomarkers for the viral reservoir, and animal models for SARS-CoV-2. His group is a key part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. He currently serves as Director, Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and William Bosworth Castle Professor of Medicine and Professor of Immunology, Harvard Medical School.

John Mellors

John Mellors, M.D.

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

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.

Sandhya Vasan

Sandhya Vasan, M.D.

Dr. Sandhya Vasan is the Director of the HJF component for the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP). She was previously MHRP’s Associate Director for HIV Vaccine Research, and prior to that she served MHRP at AFRIMS in Bangkok for seven years as Science Director and head of the Nonhuman Primate Laboratory. At AFRIMS, she conducted preventive vaccine trials in follow-up to the RV144 HIV vaccine clinical trial. She also developed animal models to understand the mechanism of action of these vaccines and pursue novel HIV prevention strategies.

Dr. Vasan obtained her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before completing her MD at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School. After a residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, she worked as a Henry Luce Foundation Fellow at the Communicable Disease Centre in Singapore, where she studied patterns of tuberculosis and HIV co-infection and worked with the National University of Singapore to conduct public health surveillance studies in rural Indonesia. From 2002-2011, Dr. Vasan conducted clinical trials and nonhuman primate studies of HIV vaccines and adjuvants and related immunology research at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and the Rockefeller University.