Erica Andersen – Nissen, PhD

Dr. Erica Andersen - Nissen is Director, Cape Town HVTN Immunology Laboratory. As director of CHIL, Dr. Andersen - Nissen is directing cellular studies of specimens from HVTN trials in Southern Afrika. Dr Andersen - Nissen completed her Ph.D in Immunology at the University of Washington in Seattle in June 2006 under the mentorship of Dr. Alan Aderem, where she studied the role of Toll - like receptor 5 (TLR5) in the innitiate immune response to bacterial flagellin. Her work contributed significantly to the field's understanding of TLR-agonist interactions and highlighted the significance of TLR5 to the innate immune response in vivo. She then carried out a postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Julie McElrath's laboratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where she profiled innate immune responses induced by candidate HIV vaccines as part of Dr. McElrath's Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation CAVD consortium. Her studies have provided new information about human immune responses to experimental adjuvants and viral vaccine vectors. She has worked to incorporate innate immune response assays into the HVTN and has contributed extensively to clinical trial protocol development in the HVTN. Her future work will examine immune responses to HIV vaccines in Southern African populations.