The Division of Microbiology and Immunology at the Yerkes Research Center provides leadership, resources and training to advance molecular and biological approaches to understand, prevent and treat infectious diseases.
By using rodents and nonhuman primates to study the progression of disease and to test new treatments, Yerkes scientists provide the basic biomedical research that eventually will result in novel strategies for treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in humans. Current research in the Division of Microbiology and Immunology focuses on vaccines and treatments for HIV and AIDS; pathogenesis of immunodeficiency virus infections in nonhuman primates; comparative AIDS research; and immunopathogenesis of hepatitis C virus.
One of Yerkes’ foremost scientific goals is the development of an AIDS vaccine that will help end the global epidemic now affecting more than 42 million people. A leading HIV/AIDS vaccine that was developed and tested at Yerkes and is now licensed to GeoVax Labs, Inc., is in Phase 2a human clinical trials. GeoVax recently received FDA approval for a new Phase 1 clinical trial of the vaccine as treatment for individuals infected with HIV.
Guido Silvestri, MD, an internationally recognized leader in the area of AIDS pathogenesis and vaccines, serves as Division Chief. Core scientists for the division are Rama Rao Amara, PhD, Arash Grakoui, PhD, and Francis J. Novembre, PhD. Division scientists are fully engaged in local, national and international collaborations.