Viral Immune Evasion and Vaccines (VIRIEVAC)


Principal Investigator: Julia García Prado


The main objective of VIRIEVAC is to identify HIV-1 evasion strategies against host cellular immunity and their implication in infection pathogenesis and evolution.

In this context, our challenge is to characterize viral evasion and immune control mechanisms at different disease stages as the basis for the rational design of new immunotherapeutic drugs and strategies. VIRIEVAC, launched in 2013, has focused its activities on addressing the interface between molecular virology and cell immunology, as follows:

1. Pathogenesis. The aim is to identify patterns of HIV-1 evasion from host immunity and determine the implications for infection pathogenesis. Our studies are based on characterizing viral variants in extreme infection phenotypes in children and adults.

2. Vaccines. The aim is to characterize molecular and cellular interaction mechanisms between antiretroviral drugs and immune responses to HIV-1 during antiretroviral treatment. Our studies focus on understanding the role of sustained cellular response in viral evolution and replication control during antiretroviral treatment.

3. Persistence. The aim is to define immune mechanisms associated with the control and elimination of persistent viral infections. This line of work is focused on the development of experimental models of reactivation and elimination of cells with latent HIV-1 infection. These models help identify new latency-reactivation and immunity-enhancing molecules that eliminate viral reservoirs. With the aim of preventing viral reservoir formation, we also evaluate new therapeutic targets implicated in innate virus recognition and cellular immune-response activation.

All our projects are strongly multidisciplinary with translational potential to clinical practice. Our results are fundamental to the development of new therapeutic strategies aimed at controlling and curing HIV-1 infection.

Keywords: immunotherapies, Pathogenesis, viral evasion, cellular response
Principal Investigator

Julia García Prado

Dr. Julia García Prado obtained a degree in Biochemistry, followed by a PhD in Immunology (honours) from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 2005. A year after completing her PhD, on receiving a prestigious Marie Curie fellowship (European Research Council), she moved to...


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