Lu-Ann Pozzi, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School, New England Primate Research Center
Title: "An in vivo cytolytic CD8+ T lymphocyte assay for evaluating AIDS vaccine efficacy"
Description: Despite more than 20 years of research, the goal of developing a safe and effective HIV vaccine remains elusive. CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are a critical component of antiviral immunity and will likely be an important determinant of protection mediated by an effective AIDS vaccine. Current in vitro assays for the measurement of CTL activity have significant limitations and do not reliably predict HIV/SIV-specific CTL-mediated protection in vivo. To more reliably assess antiviral CTL efficacy, we have developed an assay to directly measure the in vivo killing capacity of virus-specific CTL responses in rhesus macaques. In this grant, we want to investigate whether the in vivo killing capacity of SIV-specific CTL, as measured by the in vivo cytotoxicity assay, will more reliably predict the efficacy of SIV vaccine candidates.
Mentors: My mentors are Dr. Amitinder Kaur at the New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Xu Yu from the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. Dr Kaur has extensive experience in SIV immunology and testing HSV-based SIV vaccines in non-human primates. Dr. Yu's work has centered on the mechanisms of protection in HIV-infected elite controllers.