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Sandhya Vasan, M.D.

Head, Non-Human Primate Research Laboratory

Department of Retrovirology, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS), 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. She has been working in Bangkok, Thailand with the MHRP since 2011.


Dr. Vasan’s research interests include HIV vaccine development and acute infection studies in both clinical trials and in the nonhuman primate research model. She helps to oversee and coordinate follow-up clinical trials to the RV144, which was the only clinical trial of a candidate HIV vaccine to date to demonstrate modest (31%) efficacy in preventing HIV infection in healthy volunteers, in order to determine potential mechanisms of protection and optimization of future HIV vaccine candidate regimens. In parallel, she is conducting studies in non human primates to understand the mechanism of action of these vaccines via passive transfer challenge studies. Dr. Vasan also works to understand the neuropathogenesis of early HIV infection in a non-accelerated SHIV model in rhesus macaques, which she has established to conduct studies on potential regimens for HIV cure in parallel to clinical trials with collaborators at the Thai Red Cross and MHRP.


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