Lili Yang, Ph.D.
California Institute of Technology
Title: "Evaluation of a Dendritic Cell-Directed SIV Vaccine in Nonhuman Primates"
Description: My project aims to develop a new HIV vaccine, which interestingly, is based on a vector derived from HIV itself. By engineering the vector to target dendritic cells, the most powerful stimulator for human immune system, we hope to guide the immune system to fight HIV effectively. My current work focuses on evaluating this new vaccine modem in non-human primates.
Mentors: My mentors are Dr. David Baltimore, Dr. Gary Nabel, and Dr. Juliana McElrath. Dr. Baltimore, who has been my mentor since my PH.D. study, is a great supporter and inspiration for me to explore the engineering of immune system to treat diseases. Dr. Nabel is a leading expert on HIV vaccine development, and has been in collaboration with us to carry out the non-human primate work, from whom I will learn how to test a vaccine candidate in non-human primate animal models, and how to develop it into clinical application. Dr. McElrath is a leading expert on conducting HIV clinical trials, who will inform me of new results from the ongoing clinical investigations of HIV vaccine development, and advise me on designing pre-clinical experiments that are translatable and relevant to clinical settings.