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M. Juliana “Julie” McElrath (born January 9, 1951) is a senior vice president and director of the vaccine and infectious disease division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and principal investigator of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network Laboratory Center in Seattle, Washington. She also is a professor at the University of Washington.
As one of the world’s leading HIV immunology and vaccine researchers, McElrath has built and maintains an international HIV vaccine laboratory and has contributed to the fundamental understanding of how HIV-1 – the most common and pathogenic strain of the virus – enters the mucosa to infect people. Also supported in part by the National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, her work centers on developing an HIV vaccine and investigating the complex relationship between HIV and the immune system.
Education and career
McElrath earned a B.S. in biology from Furman University and a Ph.D. in pathology and an M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina. After completing her residency in internal medicine, she received her clinical fellowship training in infectious diseases at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York and her post-doctoral training in molecular immunology at the Rockefeller University in New York.
During the early 1980s, while working as a medical resident in Charleston, South Carolina, McElrath became inspired to research HIV/AIDS after caring for many young patients who were dying from a mysterious illness that, ultimately, was identified as acquired immune deficiency syndrome, AIDS. This desire even became more urgent as she focused on infectious diseases in New York City.
In 1988, she was named an assistant professor at the Rockefeller University. In 1990, McElrath relocated to Seattle to take a position at the University of Washington as an assistant professor and to direct the HIV AIDS Madison Clinic at Harborview Medical Center. Within two years, she shifted her focus back to the bench to pursue the path to an HIV vaccine and became the director of the AIDS Vaccine Evaluation Unit at the University of Washington.
McElrath traveled to South Africa in 2000 and, while driving through villages in the coastal areas near Durban, she saw the tangible toll of the AIDS epidemic. Elderly women in Durban were cradling crying babies and teenagers were tending to toddlers – the orphaned survivors of a decimated generation, she recalled in an interview. At the same time, a large percentage of people in the region also were known to be infected with HIV. She later described the situation as "terribly sobering."
In 1996, McElrath joined the faculty at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, bringing her work toward an HIV vaccine to the center. She was honored for her research with an NIH Merit Award and served as associate editor of the Journal of Infectious Diseases. Over time, she became a full professor at the University of Washington a full member at Fred Hutch, and the director of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HTVN) Laboratory Center. Headquartered at Fred Hutch, HVTN is the world's largest network dedicated to testing vaccines designed to prevent HIV.
The finding launched a push to better understand how the trial vaccines prevented HIV and how they could be improved. That initiative became a major focus of the HVTN's lab program, headed by McElrath. The Thai trial led McElrath, her colleagues and collaborators at Duke University and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine to make a pivotal discovery. For the first time, they pinpointed "immune correlates" that were associated with reduced HIV risk. One of their key findings suggested the vaccines might spur some recipients to make antibodies that prevent HIV infection. McElrath’s quest to develop an HIV vaccine spurred her effort to launch a new immunology lab Cape Town, South Africa. That facility opened its doors in 2013.
In addition to her work with HVTN and at Fred Hutch, McElrath is an attending physician at Harborview Medical Center, the University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the treatment arm of Fred Hutch. She has published nearly 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals, the majority on HIV/AIDS. In 2007, she co-founded the Vaccine Infectious Disease Institute at Fred Hutch and has served as sole director of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at Fred Hutch since 2011.
McElrath’s scientific interests include investigations to understand the human immune responses that control and prevent HIV-1 infection by using multi-disciplinary and cross-platform approaches. She continues to be involved in a global initiative to develop an HIV-1 vaccine, and in research to identify innate and mucosal immune defenses generated following vaccination. McElrath has taken a leadership role or has been a significant contributor to numerous integrated programs at the national and international level to advance a coordinated effort to curb the HIV epidemic through prevention efforts. Those include: the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, the Gates Foundation Innate Immunity Consortium (PI), the Microbicide Trials Network (Director, Immunology Core), and the Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit (PI).
At the McElrath Laboratory at Fred Hutch, a primary goal is to determine how T cell memory is induced both in natural infection and by immunization. McElrath and her team also are working to identify the properties of T cells that confer containment or eradiation of HIV-1. Their studies span a wide array of immunologic investigations in persons who experience unusual control of HIV-1 infection, including individuals with newly diagnosed infection, those with long-term non-progressive disease who control infection for more than a decade without antiretroviral treatment, and people repeatedly exposed but not infected. These clinical cohorts have been assembled for longitudinal studies in both Seattle and in two nations where the HIV epidemic is widespread – South Africa and Uganda.
On Dec. 1, 2015 the work of McElrath and HTVN scientists pursuing a vaccine to potentially halt HIV and AIDS will be highlighted in an HBO/VICE special report titled "Countdown to Zero."
McElrath is a member of the Association of American Physicians, American College of Physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. She is a past recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research, a National Institutes of Health Merit Award, and the GAIA Vaccine Foundation Award. She serves on numerous scientific advisory committees and boards for institutions, government and industry.
- McElrath, M. J; Pruett, J. E; Cohn, Z. A (1989). "Mononuclear phagocytes of blood and bone marrow: Comparative roles as viral reservoirs in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infections". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 86 (2): 675–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.86.2.675. PMC 286536. PMID 2492110.
- McElrath, M J; Steinman, R M; Cohn, Z A (1991). "Latent HIV-1 infection in enriched populations of blood monocytes and T cells from seropositive patients". Journal of Clinical Investigation. 87 (1): 27–30. doi:10.1172/JCI114981. PMC 294982. PMID 1985101.
- Cooney, E. L; McElrath, M. J; Corey, L; Hu, S. L; Collier, A. C; Arditti, D; Hoffman, M; Coombs, R. W; Smith, G. E; Greenberg, P. D (1993). "Enhanced immunity to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) envelope elicited by a combined vaccine regimen consisting of priming with a vaccinia recombinant expressing HIV envelope and boosting with gp160 protein". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 90 (5): 1882–6. doi:10.1073/pnas.90.5.1882. PMC 45984. PMID 8446603.
- McElrath, M. J; Corey, L; Berger, D; Hoffman, M. C; Klucking, S; Dragavon, J; Peterson, E; Greenberg, P. D (1994). "Immune Responses Elicited by Recombinant Vaccinia-Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Envelope and HIV Envelope Protein: Analysis of the Durability of Responses and Effect of Repeated Boosting". Journal of Infectious Diseases. 169 (1): 41–7. doi:10.1093/infdis/169.1.41. PMID 8277196.
- McElrath, M. J; Rabin, M; Hoffman, M; Klucking, S; Garcia, J. V; Greenberg, P. D (1994). "Evaluation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses utilizing B-lymphoblastoid cell lines transduced with the CD4 gene and infected with HIV-1". Journal of Virology. 68 (8): 5074–83. PMC 236450. PMID 8035507.
- McElrath, M. J; Corey, L; Greenberg, P. D; Matthews, T. J; Montefiori, D. C; Rowen, L; Hood, L; Mullins, J. I (1996). "Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection despite prior immunization with a recombinant envelope vaccine regimen". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 93 (9): 3972–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.93.9.3972. PMC 39470. PMID 8633000.
- Kent, S. J; Greenberg, P. D; Hoffman, M. C; Akridge, R. E; McElrath, M. J (1997). "Antagonism of vaccine-induced HIV-1-specific CD4+ T cells by primary HIV-1 infection: Potential mechanism of vaccine failure". Journal of Immunology. 158 (2): 807–15. PMID 8992998.
- Musey, Luwy; Hu, Yuxiang; Eckert, Linda; Christensen, Michael; Karchmer, Tobi; McElrath, M. Juliana (1997). "HIV-1 Induces Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes in the Cervix of Infected Women". The Journal of Experimental Medicine. 185 (2): 293–303. doi:10.1084/jem.185.2.293. PMC 2196121. PMID 9016878.
- Musey, Luwy; Hughes, James; Schacker, Timothy; Shea, Theresa; Corey, Lawrence; McElrath, M. Juliana (1997). "Cytotoxic-T-Cell Responses, Viral Load, and Disease Progression in Early Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection". New England Journal of Medicine. 337 (18): 1267–74. doi:10.1056/NEJM199710303371803. PMID 9345075.
- Goh, W. C; Markee, J; Akridge, R. E; Meldorf, M; Musey, L; Karchmer, T; Krone, M; Collier, A; Corey, L; Emerman, M; McElrath, M. J (1999). "Protection against Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection in Persons with Repeated Exposure: Evidence for T Cell Immunity in the Absence of Inherited CCR5 Coreceptor Defects". The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 179 (3): 548–57. doi:10.1086/314632. PMID 9952360.
- Musey, Luwy K; Krieger, John N; Hughes, James P; Schacker, Timothy W; Corey, Lawrence; McElrath, M. Juliana (1999). "Early and Persistent Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV‐1)–Specific T Helper Dysfunction in Blood and Lymph Nodes following Acute HIV‐1 Infection". The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 180 (2): 278–84. doi:10.1086/314868. PMID 10395840.
- Malhotra, Uma; Berrey, M. Michelle; Huang, Yijian; Markee, Janan; Brown, Darin J; Ap, Sophe; Musey, Luwy; Schacker, Timothy; Corey, Lawrence; McElrath, M. Juliana (2000). "Effect of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy on T‐Cell Immunity in Acute Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection". The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 181 (1): 121–31. doi:10.1086/315202. PMID 10608758.
- McElrath, M. Juliana; Corey, Lawrence; Montefiori, David; Wolff, Mark; Elrath, M. Juliana; Keefer, Michael; Belshe, Robert (2000). "A Phase II Study of Two HIV Type 1 Envelope Vaccines, Comparing Their Immunogenicity in Populations at Risk for Acquiring HIV Type 1 Infection". AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. 16 (9): 907–19. doi:10.1089/08892220050042846. PMID 10875616.
- Musey, L; Ding, Y; Cao, J; Lee, J; Galloway, C; Yuen, A; Jerome, K. R; McElrath, M. J (2003). "Ontogeny and Specificities of Mucosal and Blood Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1-Specific CD8+ Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes". Journal of Virology. 77 (1): 291–300. doi:10.1128/JVI.77.1.291-300.2003. PMC 140595. PMID 12477834.
- Russell, Nina D; Hudgens, Michael G; Ha, Richard; Havenar‐Daughton, Colin; McElrath, M. Juliana (2003). "Moving to Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Vaccine Efficacy Trials: Defining T Cell Responses As Potential Correlates of Immunity". The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 187 (2): 226–42. doi:10.1086/367702. PMID 12552447.
- Zhu, T; Corey, L; Hwangbo, Y; Lee, J. M; Learn, G. H; Mullins, J. I; McElrath, M. J (2003). "Persistence of Extraordinarily Low Levels of Genetically Homogeneous Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 in Exposed Seronegative Individuals". Journal of Virology. 77 (11): 6108–16. doi:10.1128/JVI.77.11.6108-6116.2003. PMC 154986. PMID 12743268.
- Musey, L; Ding, Y; Elizaga, M; Ha, R; Celum, C; McElrath, M. J (2014). "HIV-1 Vaccination Administered Intramuscularly Can Induce Both Systemic and Mucosal T Cell Immunity in HIV-1-Uninfected Individuals". The Journal of Immunology. 171 (2): 1094–101. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.171.2.1094. PMID 12847284.
- Speelmon, E. C; Livingston-Rosanoff, D; Li, S. S; Vu, Q; Bui, J; Geraghty, D. E; Zhao, L. P; McElrath, M. J (2006). "Genetic Association of the Antiviral Restriction Factor TRIM5 with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection". Journal of Virology. 80 (5): 2463–71. doi:10.1128/JVI.80.5.2463-2471.2006. PMC 1395369. PMID 16474153.
- Horton, H; Frank, I; Baydo, R; Jalbert, E; Penn, J; Wilson, S; McNevin, J. P; McSweyn, M. D; Lee, D; Huang, Y; De Rosa, S. C; McElrath, M. J (2006). "Preservation of T Cell Proliferation Restricted by Protective HLA Alleles is Critical for Immune Control of HIV-1 Infection". The Journal of Immunology. 177 (10): 7406–15. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.177.10.7406. PMID 17082660.
- Hladik, Florian; Sakchalathorn, Polachai; Ballweber, Lamar; Lentz, Gretchen; Fialkow, Michael; Eschenbach, David; McElrath, M. Juliana (2007). "Initial Events in Establishing Vaginal Entry and Infection by Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1". Immunity. 26 (2): 257–70. doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2007.01.007. PMC 1885958. PMID 17306567.
- Qin, Li; Gilbert, Peter B; Corey, Lawrence; McElrath, M. Juliana; Self, Steven G (2007). "A Framework for Assessing Immunological Correlates of Protection in Vaccine Trials". The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 196 (9): 1304–12. doi:10.1086/522428. PMID 17922394.
- Hladik, Florian; McElrath, M. Juliana (2008). "Setting the stage: Host invasion by HIV". Nature Reviews Immunology. 8 (6): 447–57. doi:10.1038/nri2302. PMC 2587276. PMID 18469831.
- Speelmon, Emily C; Livingston-Rosanoff, Devon; Desbien, Anthony L; Lee, Jean; Wick, W. David; Hladik, Florian; McElrath, M. Juliana (2008). "Impaired Viral Entry Cannot Explain Reduced CD4+T Cell Susceptibility to HIV Type 1 in Certain Highly Exposed Individuals". AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. 24 (11): 1415–27. doi:10.1089/aid.2007.0256. PMC 2764523. PMID 19000021.
- McElrath, M Juliana; De Rosa, Stephen C; Moodie, Zoe; Dubey, Sheri; Kierstead, Lisa; Janes, Holly; Defawe, Olivier D; Carter, Donald K; Hural, John; Akondy, Rama; Buchbinder, Susan P; Robertson, Michael N; Mehrotra, Devan V; Self, Steven G; Corey, Lawrence; Shiver, John W; Casimiro, Danilo R (2008). "HIV-1 vaccine-induced immunity in the test-of-concept Step Study: A case–cohort analysis". The Lancet. 372 (9653): 1894–1905. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61592-5. PMC 2774110. PMID 19012957.
- Doehle, B. P; Hladik, F; McNevin, J. P; McElrath, M. J; Gale, M (2009). "Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Mediates Global Disruption of Innate Antiviral Signaling and Immune Defenses within Infected Cells". Journal of Virology. 83 (20): 10395–405. doi:10.1128/JVI.00849-09. PMC 2753137. PMID 19706707.
- McElrath, M. Juliana; Haynes, Barton F (2010). "Induction of Immunity to Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 by Vaccination". Immunity. 33 (4): 542–54. doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2010.09.011. PMC 3031162. PMID 21029964.
- Migueles, Stephen A; Rood, Julia E; Berkley, Amy M; Guo, Tiffany; Mendoza, Daniel; Patamawenu, Andy; Hallahan, Claire W; Cogliano, Nancy A; Frahm, Nicole; Duerr, Ann; McElrath, M. Juliana; Connors, Mark (2011). "Trivalent Adenovirus Type 5 HIV Recombinant Vaccine Primes for Modest Cytotoxic Capacity That is Greatest in Humans with Protective HLA Class I Alleles". PLoS Pathogens. 7 (2): e1002002. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002002. PMC 3044701. PMID 21383976.
- Elahi, Shokrollah; Dinges, Warren L; Lejarcegui, Nicholas; Laing, Kerry J; Collier, Ann C; Koelle, David M; McElrath, M Juliana; Horton, Helen (2011). "Protective HIV-specific CD8+ T cells evade Treg cell suppression". Nature Medicine. 17 (8): 989–95. doi:10.1038/nm.2422. PMC 3324980. PMID 21765403.
- De Rosa, S. C; Thomas, E. P; Bui, J; Huang, Y; Decamp, A; Morgan, C; Kalams, S. A; Tomaras, G. D; Akondy, R; Ahmed, R; Lau, C.-Y; Graham, B. S; Nabel, G. J; McElrath, M. J (2011). "HIV-DNA Priming Alters T Cell Responses to HIV-Adenovirus Vaccine Even when Responses to DNA Are Undetectable". The Journal of Immunology. 187 (6): 3391–401. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1101421. PMC 3180898. PMID 21844392.
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- Haynes, Barton F; Gilbert, Peter B; McElrath, M. Juliana; Zolla-Pazner, Susan; Tomaras, Georgia D; Alam, S. Munir; Evans, David T; Montefiori, David C; Karnasuta, Chitraporn; Sutthent, Ruengpueng; Liao, Hua-Xin; Devico, Anthony L; Lewis, George K; Williams, Constance; Pinter, Abraham; Fong, Youyi; Janes, Holly; Decamp, Allan; Huang, Yunda; Rao, Mangala; Billings, Erik; Karasavvas, Nicos; Robb, Merlin L; Ngauy, Viseth; De Souza, Mark S; Paris, Robert; Ferrari, Guido; Bailer, Robert T; Soderberg, Kelly A; et al. (2012). "Immune-Correlates Analysis of an HIV-1 Vaccine Efficacy Trial". New England Journal of Medicine. 366 (14): 1275–86. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1113425. PMC 3371689. PMID 22475592.
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- McElrath, M. J; Smythe, K; Randolph-Habecker, J; Melton, K. R; Goodpaster, T. A; Hughes, S. M; Mack, M; Sato, A; Diaz, G; Steinbach, G; Novak, R. M; Curlin, M; Lord, J. D; Maenza, J; Duerr, A; Frahm, N; Hladik, Florian (2013). "Comprehensive Assessment of HIV Target Cells in the Distal Human Gut Suggests Increasing HIV Susceptibility Toward the Anus". JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 63 (3): 263–71. doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182898392. PMC 3683090. PMID 23392465.
- Janes, Holly; Friedrich, David P; Krambrink, Amy; Smith, Rebecca J; Kallas, Esper G; Horton, Helen; Casimiro, Danilo R; Carrington, Mary; Geraghty, Daniel E; Gilbert, Peter B; McElrath, M. Juliana; Frahm, Nicole (2013). "Vaccine-Induced Gag-Specific T Cells Are Associated with Reduced Viremia After HIV-1 Infection". The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 208 (8): 1231–9. doi:10.1093/infdis/jit322. PMC 3778967. PMID 23878319.
- Haynes, Barton F; McElrath, M. Juliana (2013). "Progress in HIV-1 vaccine development". Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS. 8 (4): 326–32. doi:10.1097/COH.0b013e328361d178. PMC 3947525. PMID 23743722.
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- Lemos, Maria P; Lama, Javier R; Karuna, Shelly T; Fong, Youyi; Montano, Silvia M; Ganoza, Carmela; Gottardo, Raphael; Sanchez, Jorge; McElrath, M. Juliana (2014). "The Inner Foreskin of Healthy Males at Risk of HIV Infection Harbors Epithelial CD4+ CCR5+ Cells and Has Features of an Inflamed Epidermal Barrier". PLoS ONE. 9 (9): e108954. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108954. PMC 4182607. PMID 25268493.
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- Cohen, Kristen W; Dugast, Anne-Sophie; Alter, Galit; McElrath, M. Juliana; Stamatatos, Leonidas (2015). "HIV-1 Single-Stranded RNA Induces CXCL13 Secretion in Human Monocytes via TLR7 Activation and Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell–Derived Type I IFN". The Journal of Immunology. 194 (6): 2769–75. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1400952. PMC 4363079. PMID 25667414.
- Lemos, M P; Karuna, S T; Mize, G J; Fong, Y; Montano, S M; Ganoza, C; Lama, J R; Sanchez, J; McElrath, M J (2015). "In men at risk of HIV infection, IgM, IgG1, IgG3 and IgA reach the human foreskin epidermis". Mucosal Immunology. 9 (3): 798–808. doi:10.1038/mi.2015.103. PMC 4848120. PMID 26509877.
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