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MHRP Welcomes Lydie Trautmann, Chief of Cellular Immunology

July 23, 2015
The U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) welcomes Lydie Trautmann, Ph.D. as the new Chief of Cellular Immunology.

Dr. Trautmann joins the program after more than five years with the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida where she collaborated on acute HIV infection research with Dr. Jintanat Ananworanich. She says she was inspired to join MHRP by the chance to work more closely with these unique acute cohorts.

“Human immunology is hard. You need to work with strong cohorts in order to have any meaningful data and if you want to find an answer you have to start at one point and work backwards,” Trautmann said.
Joining MHRP is “an opportunity to work with unique cohorts and a strong group of researchers working toward the same goal of studying acute HIV infection. We all have complementary expertise and, if we work together, we can make an HIV vaccine a reality.” 
Dr. Trautmann’s lab is currently focused on HIV functional cure studies. She says understanding the complexity of acute HIV infection is key to creating a viable vaccine.
She and her team are working to define the impact of treatment initiation in acute infection and the quality of the immune memory response.  By researching whether the memory response is better in the extremely early, middle, or late stages of acute infection, Dr. Trautmann and her team hope to provide crucial insight into immunology which could elevate vaccine development.  
The lab also studies the immunology of efficacious vaccines against diseases like yellow fever, to provide insights into how to create a viable HIV vaccine. 
“To try and conduct reasoned development of a vaccine for HIV, we have to first understand how an efficacious vaccine, like Yellow Fever, works,” Trautmann said.
Though the yellow fever vaccine produces a strong immune response, Trautmann said she and her team noted that the response was not the same in different regions of the world. This holds implications for an HIV vaccine, as different subtypes circulate throughout the world. 
“We learned that you not only need to develop a vaccine, you also need to try to target and regulate immune activation to make it so that the vaccine can work globally,” she said. 
Dr. Trautmann holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University Paris V Rene Descartesand and an M.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Louis Pasteur University.