Dr J. McElrath

Julie Photo 2010

University of Washington, USA

Dr. Julie McElrath is Principal Investigator and Director of the HVTN Laboratory Center and Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit. She is a Senior Vice President and Member of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Professor, Departments of Medicine, Laboratory Medicine and Global Health, University of Washington; Director of the FHCRC Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division and directs the Immunology and Vaccine Development Program. Dr. McElrath also has attending responsibilities on the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Infectious Diseases consult service.

Her current research pursues a vaccine that will protect against HIV-1 infection, investigates how components of cellular immunity elicited early in HIV-1 infection contribute to control of HIV-1 disease, whether T-cell immune responses are involved in resistance to HIV-1 infection in high-risk persons, how some HIV-1 infected individuals are able to naturally control the infection for long periods of time without treatment, how antigen-specific mucosal T cells protect against HIV-1 exposure, and what elements of immunity correlate with protection against HIV-1 infection by vaccine.

Dr. McElrath has built and maintains a successful international HIV vaccine laboratory program, conducted translational immunological research in humans in a multicenter setting, contributed fundamental understanding of how HIV-1 enters the mucosa to establish infection, identified persons with very low levels of HIV DNA who otherwise lack all evidence of infection, assembled invaluable cohorts from which to elucidate mechanisms of risk for HIV infection and disease, and productively mentored junior faculty, young investigators, and graduate students in their career paths. In conjunction with a highly productive research program, she has assumed a leadership role or been a major contributor in a number of integrated programs at the national and international level to advance a coordinated effort to tackle the HIV epidemic through prevention efforts: the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (PI and Director of the Laboratory Center), the Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (PI and contributor to multiple groups), the Microbicide Trials Network (Director, Immunology Core), and the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise (Laboratory Working Group).

Dr. McElrath received her bachelor's degree from Furman University, Greenville, SC; her Ph.D. and M.D. degrees from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston; her clinical training in infectious diseases at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York; and her post-doctoral training in molecular immunology at the Rockefeller University in New York.