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Sandhya Vasan, M.D.

Director of HJF Component, MHRP

In 2019, Dr. Sandhya Vasan became the Principal Investigator representing HJF for MHRP’s cooperative agreement (CA) with the DoD. In addition to overseeing HJF components of the CA, she provides key leadership for MHRP’s wide array of basic and clinical studies. She has been with MRHP since 2011, initially in Bangkok, Thailand.

Dr. Vasan obtained her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before completing her MD at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School. After a residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, she worked as a Henry Luce Foundation Fellow at the Communicable Disease Centre in Singapore, where she studied patterns of tuberculosis and HIV co-infection and worked with the National University of Singapore to conduct public health surveillance studies in rural Indonesia. From 2002-2011, Dr. Vasan conducted clinical trials and nonhuman primate studies of HIV vaccines and adjuvants and related immunology research at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and the Rockefeller University. 

Dr. Vasan recently served as MHRP’s Associate Director for HIV Vaccine Research, and prior to that she served MHRP at AFRIMS in Bangkok for seven years as Science Director and head of the Nonhuman Primate Laboratory. At AFRIMS, she conducted preventive vaccine trials in follow-up to the RV144 HIV vaccine clinical trial. She also developed animal models to understand the mechanism of action of these vaccines and pursue novel HIV prevention strategies. 


Randomized, Double Blind Evaluation of Late Boost Strategies for HIV-uninfected Vaccine Recipients in the RV144 HIV Vaccine Efficacy Trial. Rerks-Ngarm S, Pitisuttithum P, Excler JL, Nitayaphan S, Kaewkungwal J, Premsri N, Kunasol P, Karasavvas N, Schuetz A, Ngauy V, Sinangil F, Dawson P, deCamp AC, Phogat S, Garunathan S, Tartaglia J, DiazGranados C, Ratto-Kim S, Pegu P, Eller M, Karnasuat C, Montefiori DC, Sawant S, Vandergrift N, Wills S, Tomaras GD, Robb ML, Michael NL, Kim JH, Vasan S, O'Connell RJ; RV305 Study Team. J Infect Dis. 2017 Feb 21. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jix099. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 28329190. 

Central Nervous System Inflammation and Infection during Early, Nonaccelerated Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in Rhesus Macaques. Hsu DC, Sunyakumthorn P, Wegner M, Schuetz A, Silsorn D, Estes J, Deleage C, Tomusange K, Lakhashe SK, Ruprecht RM, Lombardini E, Im-Erbsin R, Kuncharin Y, Phuang-Ngern Y, Inthawong D, Chuenarom W, Burke R, Robb ML, Ndhlovu LC, Ananworanich A, Valcour V, O'Connell RJ, Spudich S, Michael NL, Vasan S. J Virol. 2018. May 14;92(11). pii: e00222-18. PMID: 29563297.

A glycolipid adjuvant, 7DW8-5, enhances CD8+ T cell responses induced by an adenovirus-vectored malaria vaccine in non-human primates. N. Padte, M. Boente-Carrera, C.D. Andrews, J. McManus, B. Grasperge, A. Gettie, J. Coelho-dos-Reis, X. Li, D. Wu, J. Bruder, M. Sedegah, N. Patterson, T. Richie, C.H. Wong, D.D. Ho, S. Vasan, M. Tsuji. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 25;8(10):e78407. PMID: 24205224

In vivo electroporation enhances the immunogenicity of an HIV-1 DNA vaccine candidate in healthy volunteers.  S. Vasan, A. Hurley, S.J. Schlesinger, D. Hannaman, D.F. Gardiner, D.P. Dugin, M.M. Boente-Carrera, R.M. Vittorino, M. Caskey, J. Andersen, Y. Huang, J. Cox, T. Tarragona, D.K. Gill, H. Cheeseman, L. Clark, L. Dally, C. Smith, C. Schmidt, H. Park, J. Kopycinski, J. Gilmour, P. Fast, R. Bernard, D.D. Ho. PLoS One, 2011;6(5):e19252    PMID: 21603651

Design of a potent CD1d-binding NKT cell ligand as a vaccine adjuvant.  X. Li, M. Fujio, D. Wu, S. Vasan, C. Wong, D. D. Ho, M. Tsuji.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010. 107(29):13010-13015.   PMID: 20616071

Function of NKT cells, a potential anti-HIV effector cell, are preserved by beginning HAART during acute HIV-1 infection.   S. Vasan, M. Poles, A. Horowitz, E. Siladji, M. Markowitz, M. Tsuji.  International Immunology, 2007, 19(8):943-51.  PMID: 17702988

Phase 1 Safety and Immunogenicity Evaluation of ADMVA, a Multigenic, Modified Vaccinia Ankara-HIV-1 B’/C Candidate Vaccine   S. Vasan, S. J. Schlesinger, Z. Chen, A. Hurley, A. Lombardo, S. Than, P. Adesanya, C. Bunce, M. Boaz, R. Boyle, E. Sayeed, L. Clark, D. Dugin, M. Boente-Carrera, C. Schmidt, Q. Fang, L. Ba, Y. Huang, G.J. Zaharatos, D.F. Gardiner, M. Caskey, L. Seamons, M. Ho, L. Dally, C. Smith, J. Cox, D.K. Gill, J. Gilmour, M.C. Keefer, P. Fast, D. D. Ho.  PLOS One, 2010, 5(1) e8816, p1-7.  PMID: 20111599

Neutralization Profiles of Newly Transmitted Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 by Monoclonal Antibodies 2G12, 2F5, and 4E10.  S. Mehandru, T. Wrin, J. Galovich, G. Stiegler, B. Veclar, A. Hurley, C. Hogan, S. Vasan, H. Katinger, C. Petropoluous, M. Markowitz.   Journal of Virology. 2004, 78(24): 14309-14042.   PMID: 15564511