Research Programs


The central role of the Bioinformatics team at CVVR is to apply state-of-the-art computational methods, and machine learning algorithms to analyze and integrate high throughput data sets to provide analytical tools and support in computational biology and bioinformatics to the broad CVVR community. We aim to accelerate genomics research and its applications in clinical practice by analyzing and integrating high throughput data sets such as bulk and single cell RNA-Seq; metabolome, proteome, cytokines and chemokines profiling, flow cytometry, and high-dimensional tissue imaging to generate and validate mechanistic hypotheses using human and animal models for HIV, SIV, TB, ZIKA, Yellow Fever, and COVID-19 studies.

Reproductive Immunology and Virology

One of the areas of research aims to understand how humoral and cellular immunity is altered during pregnancy. We study the maternal immune response to the feto-placental unit using basic science to profile immune responses at the uterus in healthy and complicated pregnancies. We also study how pregnancy physiology alters the response to pathogens and vaccines, and how to optimize neonatal immunity through transplacental transfer of antibodies from mother to fetus.

Glass slide

Tissue Biology

Understanding how immune cells exert functions in their native context is fundamental towards deciphering engineering better defenses against viral infections or cancer. CVVR investigators collaboratively combine their deep expertise in translational immunology, viral pathogenesis and technological breakthroughs in spatial-omics to tackle intractable questions in infectious diseases.

Medical Bioengineer Working On Development Vaccines 2019-ncov Coronavirus In Pharmacy Laboratory. Bl

Technology Development and Applications

Key breakthroughs in biological research often results from combining engineering innovative solutions to address fundamental questions. CVVR investigators are developing creative molecular tools to re-interrogate key questions in virus-host interactions and immune responses to diseases, thus enabling new insights into targetable therapeutics.

Group of hands holding red ribbon stop drugs and HIV/AIDS awareness

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.

Scientist filling test tube science lab


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.


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.

Flow Cytometry Core

Committed to meeting 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 for both sort and analysis capabilities of up to 18 fluorescent parameters.

The facility provides equipment, and consultation and data analysis services by dedicated personnel to both in-house and outside researchers.  Areas of expertise include non-human primate (NHP) and infectious disease research.

The Flow Cytometry Core is committed to providing the latest software and lasers to better assist peer researchers. The Flow Cytometry Core facility is affiliated with Harvard University and is supported by the NIH Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

Flow Cytometry Core Lab Online Scheduling


  •          Data analysis and interpretation
  •          Experiment consultation and set-up
  •          Fluorescence activated cell sorting
  •          Panel development
  •          Antibody conjugation
  •          Assays (special development)


C. Sabrina Tan, M.D.

Michelle Lifton
Flow Core Lab Manager
617. 735.4512

Alex Cope
Flow Core Lab Assistant




COMS approved facility allows for sterile sorting of fixed and unfixed human, non-human primate, and other animal specimens for HCV and HIV/AIDS research.  BD FACS Aria II cell sorter equipped within a Bioprotect IV LE biosafety cabinet operates with 4 solid state lasers: 405nm violet measuring up to 8 parameters, 488nm blue measuring up to 2 parameters in addition to FSC and SSC, 532nm green measuring up to 5 parameters, and a 628nm red measuring up to 3 parameters, allowing sorting panels of up to 18 fluorescent markers.



Two BD LSR II analyzers, each equipped with 4 solid state lasers: 405nm violet measuring up to 7 parameters,  488nm blue measuring up to 5 parameters in addition to FSC and SSC, a 640nm red measuring up to 3 parameters, and a 355 nm UV laser measuring 3 parameters allowing panels of up to 18 fluorescent markers.


BD LSRFortessa X14

Special research product with a choice of 3 solid state lasers a 405nm violet measuring up to 6 parameters,  488nm blue measuring up to 2 parameters in addition to FSC and SSC,  a 561nm Yellow/Green measuring up to 4 parameters allowing panels of up to 12 fluorescent markers.


Siemens ADVIA 120 Hematology System

Multispecies analyzing system for complete blood count and differential counts

HIV-1 Neutralizing Antibody Core

The HIV-1 Neutralizing Antibody Core provides in vitro HIV-1 neutralizing antibody assay services to BIDMC and the external research community. The core is GCLP-compliant; it serves as a resource for assessing the breadth and potency of HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies, and for characterizing the neutralization phenotype of HIV-1 isolates.

Investigators send monoclonal antibodies or serum samples from vaccinated or HIV-1-infected individuals to the core for in vitro testing using the validated neutralizing antibody assay. The core also has the capability to phenotype primary HIV-1 isolates for sensitivity to broadly neutralizing antibodies.


  • GCLP-compliant
  • In vitro testing of monoclonal antibodies or seurm samples
  • Validated neutralizing antibody assay
  • Phenotoyping of primary HIV-1 isolates


Michael Seaman, Ph.D.
Core PI

Judith Webber
Core Administrator

Harvard Catalyst Clinical Research Center

Harvard Catalyst-red on white

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 two general purpose rooms with beds and private bathrooms, one examination/minor procedure room, one interview room, and a room equipped for neurological testing, among other rooms. The inpatient unit consists of 8 beds in two double rooms and four single rooms. The unit is open for patient activity 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

CRC staff includes nurses, dieticians, a laboratory assistant, and a unit coordinator. 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.

Learn more at

Principal Investigators