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Alexandra Schuetz, Ph.D.

Chief, Cellular Immunology, AFRIMS Thailand

Dr. Schuetz received her Ph.D. from the University of Saarland in collaboration with Bayer HealthCare AG, Germany, in 2004. After working as a project coordinator at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering, she started working with MHRP in 2006 and relocated first to Mbeya, Tanzania, where she served as Head of Immunology and Specimen Processing. Here she developed in-country research capacity, executed immunology research in the context of HIV vaccine trials and worked on research involving HIV and TB co-infection. In 2008 she moved with MHRP to Bangkok, Thailand, and is since then involved in research on acute HIV infection, cure studies and HIV vaccine trials.

Research

Dr. Schuetz’s research interest is in understanding immunological events during acute HIV infection and their implication for the development of potential vaccine and cure strategies. In particular her Lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms by which HIV infection causes dysfunction of the gastrointestinal and reproductive tract, and the lymphoid immune systems. In parallel, the Schuetz Lab is conducting research characterizing mucosal, lymphoid and peripheral immune responses in the context of the RV144 follow up studies RV305, RV306 and RV328 to determine potential mechanisms of protection and to help developing future HIV vaccine candidates.

Selected Publications

Early cART during HIV-1 acute infection attenuates GI tract inflammation and immune activation but does not prevent CD4+ T cell depletion in the lamina propria or restore CD4+ T cells after 96 weeks of treatment. Deleage C, Schuetz A, Johnston L, Xing-Pei H, Morcock D,nRerknimitr R, FletcherJLK, Puttamaswin S, Phanuphak N, Robb ML, Kim JH, Schacker T, Hunt P, Lifson JD, Ananworanich J, EstesJD on behalf of the RV254/SEARCH 010 and RV304/SEARCH 013 Study Groups. JCI Insight. 2016 July 7; 1(10): . doi:10.1172/jci.insight.87065. 

 Initiation of ART during Early Acute HIV Infection Preserves Mucosal Th17 Function and Reverses HIV-Related Immune Activation. Schuetz A., Deleage C., Sereti I., Rerknimitr R., Phanuphak N., Phuang-Ngern Y., Estes J.D., Sandler N.G.,  Sukhumvittaya S., Marovich M., Jongrakthaitae S., Akapirat S., Fletscher J.L., Kroon E., Dewar R., Trichavaroj R., Chomchey N., Douek D.C., O’Connell R.J., Ngauy V., Robb M.L., Phanuphak P., Michael N.L., Excler J.L., Kim J.H., de Souza M.S., Ananworanich J.; RV254/SEARCH 010 and RV304/SEARCH 013 Study Groups (PLoS Pathogens. 2014 Dec11;10(12))

The Thai Phase III Trial (RV144) Vaccine Regimen Induces T Cell Responses That Preferentially Target Epitopes within the V2 Region of HIV-1 Envelope. de Souza M.S., Ratto-Kim S., Chuenarom W., Schuetz A., Chantakulkij S., Nuntapinit B., Valencia-Micolta A., Thelian D., Nitayaphan S., Pitisuttithum P., Paris R.M., Kaewkungwal J., Michael N.L., Rerks-Ngarm S., Mathieson B., Marovich M., Currier J.R., Kim J.H.; the Ministry of Public Health–Thai AIDS Vaccine Evaluation Group Collaborators (J Immunol. 2012 Apr 23. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:22529301)

Impact of multi-targted antiretroviral treatment on gut T cell depletion and HIV reservoir seeding during acute HIV infection. Ananoranich J., Schuetz A., Vandergeeten C., Sereti I., de Souza M., Reknimitr R., Dewar R, Marovich M., van Griensven F., Sekaly R., Pinyakorn S., Phanuphak N., Trichavaroj R., Rutvisuttinunt W., Chomchey N., Paris R., Peel S., Valcour V., Maldarelli F., Chomont N., Michael N, Phanuphak P., Kim J.H.; on behalf of RV254/Search 010 Study Group (PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33948. PMID: 22479485)

Pathogen-prevalence may determine maintenance of antigen-specific T-cell responses in HIV-infected individuals. Schuetz A., Dirks J., Sester U., Haule A., Elias N., Geldmacher C., Sanga E., Maboko L., Reither K., Hoelscher M., Meyerhans A., Sester M. (AIDS. 2012 Mar 27;26(6):695-700 PMID: 22301414)

Monitoring CD27 Expression to Evaluate Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Activity in HIV-1 Infected Individuals In Vivo. Schuetz A., Haule A., Reither K., Ngwenyama N., Rachow A., Meyerhans A., Maboko L., Koup R.A., Hoelscher M., Geldmacher C. (PLoS ONE, 2011;6(11):e27284 PMID: 22087280)

A phase 1/2 study of a multiclade HIV-1 DNA plasmid prime and recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 boost vaccine in HIV-Uninfected East Africans (RV 172). Kibuuka H., Kimutai R., Maboko L., Sawe F., Schunk M.S., Kroidl A., Shaffer D., Eller L.A., Kibaya R., Eller M.A., Schindler K.B., Schuetz A., Millard M., Kroll J., Dally L., Hoelscher M., Bailer R., Cox J.H., Marovich M., Birx D.L., Graham B.S., Michael N.L., de Souza M.S., Robb M.L. (J Infect Dis. 2010 Feb 15;201(4):600-7 PMID: 20078213)