Immunology and Vaccine Development

The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division is committed to eliminating death and disease attributed to infections. To that end, investigators in the Immunology and Vaccine Development Program (IVD) focus on translating fundamental knowledge about the immune system and its regulation to the design of vaccines. We aim to create effective vaccines that elicit maximum protection against cancer and infectious diseases, including COVID-19, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and Ebola.

The scientists in our program concentrate on basic research in the laboratory. To test and evaluate novel vaccine candidates and therapeutics, we collaborate extensively with the biostatisticians and clinicians in VIDD and throughout Fred Hutch as well as with international colleagues in major global networks.

IVD researchers are experts in the molecular underpinnings of the host immune response as well as in host genetics. We also concentrate on designing vaccines and preventative therapeutics that raise robust immunity in people at risk of cancer and other deadly infectious diseases.

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Featured Programs

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Working to End the Pandemic

Dr. Julie McElrath, a world-renowned scientist, is at the forefront of an unprecedented, global effort to understand how COVID-19 affects the immune system, as well as test safe and effective vaccines against the virus. 

Seattle COVID Studies
map of HIV Vaccine Trials Network sites

Leading Global Research Against HIV

Fred Hutch leads the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, a critical global effort aimed at creating an effective vaccine against HIV. HVTN operates over 30 sites on five continents and has collaborations with researchers at numerous internationally renowned research institutes.

Photo of patient getting blood drawn

Testing Novel Vaccines Against Malaria

IVD faculty member Dr. James Kublin leads clinical trials testing the capacity of genetically modified malaria parasites or other vaccine candidates to raise effective immune responses in humans while not causing disease.

Malaria Trials Center

Diseases We Investigate

The tools and techniques we have developed and discoveries we have made have broad applicability to many challenging infectious diseases with significant global health impacts. Researchers within our program study a variety of diseases, with new findings in one often translating to exciting new avenues of research in another.

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Malaria
  • Ebola
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus
  • West Nile Virus
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Malaria
  • Ebola
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus
  • West Nile Virus

Our Research Networks

Fred Hutch directs major worldwide, multicenter clinical studies aiming to develop vaccines against HIV and other global infectious diseases. We also house the central operations and laboratory functions of a prestigious nationwide network for cancer immunotherapy clinical trials. Researchers from IVD play leadership roles in these initiatives.

HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN)

Headquartered at Fred Hutch, the HVTN is an international partnership of research scientists, clinical trial sites, laboratories and others engaged in the global search for a preventive HIV vaccine. The network includes more than 30 sites on five continents. Dr. Julie McElrath, Director of VIDD and IVD, directs the laboratory component of this initiative.

Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit (SVTU)

VIDD and IVD director, Dr. Julie McElrath, directs the Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit, a Seattle-based medical center that recruits for and conducts clinical trials for vaccines against HIV as part of the HVTN. SVTU also participates in Fred Hutch-led clinical trials against malaria and other infectious diseases.

Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN)

Fred Hutch houses two critical components of the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN) – the Central Operations and Statistical Center and the CITN Immune Monitoring Lab. VIDD faculty member Dr. Steve Fling directs the Immune Monitoring Lab. Supported by the National Cancer Institute and Fred Hutch, CITN designs and conducts early-stage, multicenter clinical trials of promising immunotherapy agents to treat cancer.

Cape Town Lab

In 2013, 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 Cape Town lab supports clinical trials conducted by the HVTN.

Seattle Malaria Clinical Trials Center

IVD faculty member Dr. James Kublin serves as medical director of The Seattle Malaria Clinical Trials (Seattle MCTC). A translational research center established by Fred Hutch and the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR), Seattle MCTC tests experimental malaria vaccines and drugs in human clinical trials.

HIV/AIDS Network Coordination (HANC)

The mission of HIV/AIDS Network Coordination (HANC) is to support the science and operations of six critical HIV/AIDS clinical trials networks funded by the National Institutes of Health. IVD faculty member Dr. Jeffrey Schouten directs HANC, providing leadership and institutional logistical support for cross-network coordination since 2004.



Our Leadership

Julie McElrath, M.D., Ph.D.

Julie McElrath, M.D., Ph.D.

Program Head

One of the world’s leading HIV vaccine researchers, Dr. Julie McElrath directs the Immunology and Vaccine Development program. She establishes the overall research direction for the program as well as guiding and mentoring junior faculty and young researchers.

Her lab has led groundbreaking research to identify some of the key relationships between HIV and the human immune system. Additionally, Dr. McElrath has led and contributed to a number of critical national and international HIV prevention efforts. These include the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, which is the world's largest network of its kind, and the Seattle HIV Vaccine Trials Unit.

A 2013 recipient of Puget Sound Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award, Dr. McElrath is also a full professor in the Clinical Research Division of Fred Hutch, the Joel D. Meyers Endowed Chair, and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington.

Leo Stamatatos, Ph.D.

Leo Stamatatos, Ph.D.

Associate Head

An immunologist and professor in Fred Hutch’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division since 2014, Dr. Leo Stamatatos assists Dr. McElrath in developing the overall research direction of the program.

His laboratory team developed the first HIV vaccine candidate created at the Hutch, and in 2015 they received nearly $10M in NIH funding to manufacture the experimental vaccine for testing. Clinical trials of this novel agent are taking place via the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

Dr. Stamatos is also an affiliate professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington.

Latest Immunology and Vaccine Development News

More IVD News
A promising HIV vaccine candidate gets a little help New strategy stirs a robust response from T cells tracked by McElrath lab May 24, 2023
Eight Fred Hutch teams win Evergreen Fund awards Research projects with commercial partnership potential receive grants of up to $200K December 13, 2022
Could a 100-year-old TB vaccine help scientists find a better one? Harmless vaccine BCG is made of living bacteria; in tests might serve as a proxy for deadly tuberculosis December 12, 2022
On World AIDS Day, a broad view of continuing work Teams of Fred Hutch scientists test vaccines, treatments, new strategies December 1, 2022

Contact Immunology and Vaccine Development

Marianna Gurtovnik, Program Operations Director

Mailing Address

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division
Mail Stop E5-110
1100 Fairview Ave. N 
Seattle, WA 98109