Immunology and Vaccine Development

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division

Immunology and Vaccine Development

Immunology and Vaccine Development (IVD), led by Dr. Julie McElrath, director of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division (VIDD), is a research program within VIDD. Scientists within IVD focus on immunopathogenesis and host genetics, vaccine immune monitoring, and vaccine and adjuvant design for HIV and other diseases of global health importance.

Translating fundamental knowledge into effective vaccines and therapies

Research in this discipline is focused on translating fundamental knowledge about the immune system and its regulation to the design of vaccine reagents and regimens that induce broader and more effective responses and to the development of novel therapies for cancer, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and other related infectious diseases.

To accomplish these goals, members of the program collaborate extensively with bioinformatics, statistical and clinical science colleagues, both within the Hutch and globally, and provide leadership for major laboratory science consortia worldwide.

Fred Hutch established the Hutchinson Centre Research Institute - South Africa, a nonprofit, South African entity that includes the Cape Town HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Immunology Laboratory, a state-of-the-art laboratory and training facility.  The laboratory supports clinical trials conducted by the HVTN.

Faculty includes scientists with diverse clinical and research backgrounds, many of whom have joint appointments with a variety of University of Washington departments, including the Departments of Global Health, Medicine and Laboratory Medicine.


What is the impact of chronic infections (viral, bacterial, parasitic) on immune responses to subsequent exposures to infectious pathogens and vaccines?

We  seek to define the underlying mechanisms causing chronic infection, determine their impact on the immune memory pool, and to assess direct effects on the immune system.

How are immune responses regulated in mucosal tissues?

IVD researchers examine the role of innate-like immune responses in orchestrating mucosal immunity, including mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells; to define how regulatory T cells promote dendritic cell trafficking and function after mucosal viral infection; to determine vaccine and adjuvant effects in the mucosa; and to determine the role of the microbiome in regulating mucosal immunity.

What are the correlates of immune protection of efficacious vaccines to HIV and other pathogens of global health importance?

We apply state-of-the-art technology and analyses to identify critical innate and adaptive immune responses, adapt these investigations for performance in an international setting, and determine the contribution of innate and natural immune factors to altered susceptibility in persons at risk for infection.

How can vaccines induce protective antibodies directed at conserved sites of HIV and other viruses?

We identify fundamental immune pathways of naïve B cell recognition and development of B cell memory, and develop and evaluate immunogen designs and adjuvant formulations that can induce these responses.

What strategies can salvage and augment immune function in HIV infection to reduce disease and eliminate latent infection?

We investigate methods to induce novel immune responses by vaccination and immunotherapy, and to rescue immune dysfunction with immunomodulators.