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Sandhya Vasan, M.D.

Associate Director for HIV Vaccine Research


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 began working with MRHP in 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand.


Dr. Vasan works at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation as part of the US Military HIV Research Program (MHRP).  From 2011 – 2018, she worked at the Department of Retrovirology, US Army Medical Component of the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) in Bangkok, Thailand to conduct preventative vaccine trials in follow-up to the Phase 3 RV144 HIV vaccine clinical trial. She is also Head of the Nonhuman Primate Laboratory to develop animal models to understand the mechanism of action of these vaccines and pursue novel HIV prevention strategies. Dr. Vasan will relocate to MHRP headquarters in July in Maryland as Associate Director for HIV Vaccine Research.


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