Cell Virology and Immunology (VIC)


Principal Investigator: Julià Blanco


Our group essentially studies the HIV envelope protein. This protein is the only viral protein exposed to the outside of the HIV particle. It is, therefore:

  • The viral factor that determines virus spread as well as the target protein for the neutralizing humoral response
  • The main determinant for CD4 cell destruction and alleviating chronic inflammation in patients with HIV.

These two aspects of the viral envelope have shaped our activity in recent years. First, we have invested significant efforts in studying the humoral response to the viral envelope, particularly by developing new tests to identify protective and non-protective responses and by optimizing technologies to isolate and produce monoclonal antibodies.

We have also developed two platforms for virus-like particles and proteoliposomes in order to produce anti-HIV vaccines that generate protective antibodies.

CD4 cell destruction, chronic inflammation and immune system ageing (known as inflamm-ageing) have been addressed through the analysis of different cohorts of HIV-infected patients, for whom we have extensively characterized the function of the viral envelope and cell production and destruction mechanisms (thymic production, activation, immunosenescence and cell death mechanisms such as apoptosis and autophagy).

The ultimate goal of both research lines is to develop protective anti-HIV vaccines and therapeutic strategies (based on inflamm-ageing antibodies or modulators) for HIV-infected individuals that contribute to functional cure or eradication of HIV.

Keywords: viral envelope, vaccines, antibodies, inflammation, immune activation immunosenescence, cell death, biomarkers
Principal Investigator

Julià Blanco

Julià Blanco (PhD in Biochemistry, University of Barcelona (UB), 1994) leads the Cell Virology and Immunology (VIC) group at IrsiCaixa. He has extensively studied the role of the HIV envelope glycoprotein (Env) in virus-cell or cell-to-cell interactions and HIV cytopathicity in...


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Irsi Caixa

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'La Caixa' Foundation Generalitat de Catalunya - Departament de Salut


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