Julie McElrath, MD, PhD

Julie McElrath, MD, PhD

Senior Vice President and Director
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division
Professor of Medicine
University of Washington
Adjunct Professor, Pathobiology, Global Health, and Laboratory Medicine
University of Washington

Joel D. Meyers Endowed Chair
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Dr. McElrath's research, conducted through the McElrath Lab, 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).

Clinical Positions

Attending Physician, Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases Consult Service, Harborview Medical Center, Hutchinson Center, UW Medical Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance


Medical University of South Carolina, 1980, MD
Medical University of South Carolina, 1978, PhD (Pathology)
Furman University, 1973 (Biology)

Current Board Certification and Licensure

American Board of Internal Medicine (Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine)
Washington state medical license (physician and surgeon)

Research Interests

  • Understanding human immune responses that control and prevent HIV infection using multi-disciplinary and cross-platform approaches
  • HIV-1 vaccine development globally
  • Identifying innate immune mechanisms following vaccination

Clinical Expertise

  • Infectious diseases
  • Internal medicine

Current Studies

Related News

Julie McElrath, MD, PhD

Contact Information

Additional contact

Mailstop E5-110


Dr. Julie McElrath
Puget Sound Business Journal
2013 Women of Influence

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