Vaccine and Infectious Disease Director

About Us

Dr. Julie McElrath, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division

Julie McElrath

Dr. Julie McElrath is director and a full member of Fred Hutch's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division and is Principal Investigator and Director of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network's Laboratory Program and Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit.

Her work centers on developing an HIV vaccine and investigates the complex relationships between HIV and the immune system.

More specifically, McElrath investigates how components of T-cell immunity elicited early in HIV-1 infection contribute to control of HIV-1 disease, what the influence of antiretroviral therapy is, whether T-cell immune responses are involved in resistance to HIV-1 infection in high-risk persons, 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.

McElrath has built and maintains an international HIV vaccine laboratory program, conducted translational immunological research in humans in a multicenter setting, contributed to our 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 mentored junior faculty, young investigators, and graduate students.

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 Program), the Gates Foundation Innate Immunity Consortium (PI), the Microbicide Trials Network (Director, Immunology Core) and the Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit (PI).

In addition, McElrath is a Professor of medicine, allergy and infectious diseases at the University of Washington.

She 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.

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