Translational Immunology

One of the core areas of research at CVVR is the investigation of the immune system, with an emphasis on using basic science to leverage new concepts in vaccine design and anti-viral therapy. Many of our graduate students and postdoctoral fellows explore the fundamental mechanisms of innate and adaptive immunity, including the interplay between CD4+ and CD8+ T cell development, the role of NK cell memory in adaptive immunity, and the evolution of antibody responses following vaccination.

Viral Pathogenesis

Understanding how viruses like HIV cause disease in humans is critical to better targeting new treatments and designing new vaccines. CVVR investigators explore viral pathogenesis in animal models and clinical studies to better understand how viral reservoirs are established, the kinetics of viral replication, and the impact that chronic infection has on the immune system.


Several researchers at CVVR focus their work on the study of viruses that cause neurologic diseases, particularly JC and BK viruses. JC virus causes a devastating neurologic disease called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) that can arise in people who are immunocompromised, such as people with AIDS or patients treated with monoclonal antibodies to suppress the immune system. CVVR faculty are researching new methods to diagnose and treat these neurologic disorders, as well as to better understand the basic science behind the pathology of these neuro-viruses. Additional work is done at CVVR to investigate other pathogens that affect the central nervous system, such as tuberculosis.

Early Phase Clinical Trials

Investigators at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research are involved in a wide range of clinical research activities, including prospective clinical trials of novel HIV vaccine candidates, detailed immunological and virologic studies of HIV pathogenesis, and clinical trials of novel antiviral compounds in immunocompromised subjects.

CVVR Clinical Trials Unit

Core Facilities

Flow Cytometry Core

Committed to meet all of the flow cytometry needs for BIDMC and the external research community, the Flow Cytometry Core facility offers state of the art instrumentation for routine flow cytometry and cell sorting. It is continuously expanding with the newest software and machinery for both sort and analysis capabilities of up to 18 fluorescent parameters.

Harvard Catalyst Clinical Research Center

The Harvard Catalyst Clinical Research Center (CRC) is a core facility provided to all BIDMC investigators as well as affiliated Harvard faculty for the conduct of clinical trials. The CRC provides contiguous space for inpatient, outpatient, and administrative support activities and is located on the 8th floors of the Gryzmish and Feldberg buildings at BIDMC. The outpatient area consists of 12 rooms, including 2 general purpose rooms with beds and private bathrooms, 1 examination/minor procedure room, 1 interview room, and a room equipped for neurological testing, among other rooms. The inpatient unit consists of 8 beds in 2 two double rooms and 4 single rooms. CRC staff includes nurses, dieticians, a laboratory assistant, and a unit coordinator. The unit is open for patient activity 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Access to administrative space includes a conference room, investigator’s resource room, and use of the statistical programs on three computers located near the statistician’s office.