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Leading research to understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases

Vaccine Research Center (VRC)

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Julie E. Ledgerwood, D.O.

Julie E. Ledgerwood, D.O. 

Chief, Clinical Trials Program
Vaccine Research Center

Major Areas of Research

  • Clinical evaluation of candidate vaccines and monoclonal antibodies targeting HIV, influenza, malaria, filoviruses, alphaviruses, and other emerging infectious diseases
  • Translational immunology and vaccine research
  • Advanced clinical development including strategic planning, facilitation, support, and oversight of external clinical trials

Program Description

The VRC conducts basic, translational, and clinical research. The primary mission of the VRC Clinical Trials Program (CTP) is to carry out the clinical research component of this triad both through intramural conduct of clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center and through a broad range of support for external trials conducted by VRC collaborators and partners. These trials include evaluation of candidate vaccines and monoclonal antibodies targeting HIV, influenza, and other emerging infections. A secondary mission of the CTP is to conduct translational immunology research.

Since 2001, the CTP has launched 42 research protocols involving candidate vaccines and monoclonal antibodies targeting HIV, smallpox, influenza, West Nile virus, Ebola, Marburg, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), malaria, and chikungunya, enrolling over 6,000 volunteers. The CTP engages in efforts aimed at efficient vaccine clinical research practice (PDF).

The CTP has also advanced vaccine candidates into both domestic and international Phase Ib, II, and IIb trials. Advanced product development and larger clinical trials require partnership with external clinical trial networks operated or supported by other federal agencies, academia, non-profit organizations, or the private sector. The CTP plays an important role in the planning, conduct, oversight, and interpretation of external network clinical trials.

For updates on VRC scientific progress, visit Influenza Vaccine Development


Julie E. Ledgerwood, D.O., is the Chief of the Clinical Trials Program at the Vaccine Research Center, NIAID. She leads clinical trials and clinical collaborations for the VRC; and has served as Principal Investigator, Protocol Chair, or Associate Investigator for over 40 Phase I and II IND clinical trials studying vaccines and monoclonal antibodies targeting HIV, influenza, Ebola, malaria, Chikungunya, and other emerging infectious diseases. After completing a residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore in 2002, Dr. Ledgerwood joined NIAID as a clinical fellow in allergy and immunology. In 2003, she joined the VRC as a clinical investigator. Dr. Ledgerwood is board-certified in allergy and immunology by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. She is a graduate of Phillips University and the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Research Group

Preeti J. Apte, M.H.A.

Recruitment and Outreach Specialist

Carmencita Artis, M.Sc., M.B.A.

Management Analyst

Nina Berkowitz, M.P.H.

Protocol Specialist

Maria Burgos Florez, M.Sc.

Protocol Specialist

Grace Chen, M.D.

Associate Chief for Clinical Trials Operations

Emily Coates, Ph.D.


Pamela Costner, R.N., B.S.N., C.D.E.

Research Nurse/Study Coordinator

Ingelise Gordon, R.N.

Clinical Operations Manager

Cynthia Starr Hendel, C.R.N.P., C.C.R.C.

Nurse Practitioner

Renunda Hicks

Associate Recruitment and Outreach Specialist

LaSonji Holman, R.N., M.S.N., F.N.P.

Nurse Practitioner

Brenda D. Larkin, R.N., B.S.N., M.B.A.

Strategic Advisor for Special Projects

Floreliz Mendoza, R.N.

Research Nurse/Study Coordinator

Laura Novik, R.N., B.S.N., M.A.

HIV Vaccine Studies Coordinator

Iris R. Pittman, B.A., C.C.R.P.

IRB Specialist

Sarah H. Plummer, R.N., M.S.N., N.P.

Senior Nurse Practitioner

Jamie Saunders, R.N., B.S.N.

Research Nurse/Study Coordinator

Sandra Sitar, M.S.

Director of Communications and Public Affairs

Stephanie Taylor

Management Analyst

Cora Trelles Cartagena, B.S.W.

Recruitment and Outreach Specialist

Olga Vasilenko, M.S., C.C.R.P.

Clinical Research Information Specialist

William Whalen, R.N., B.S.N.

Research Nurse

Galina Yamshchikov, M.S.

Protocol Specialist

Kathryn Zephir, R.N., B.S.N., B.A., M.S.

Research Nurse/Study Coordinator

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Selected Publications

Ledgerwood JE, DeZure AD, Stanley DA, Novik L, Enama ME, Berkowitz NM, Hu Z, Joshi G, Ploquin A, Sitar S, Gordon IJ, Plummer SA, Holman LA, Hendel CS, Yamshchikov G, Roman F, Nicosia A, Colloca S, Cortese R, Bailer RT, Schwartz RM, Roederer M, Mascola JR, Koup RA, Sullivan NJ, Graham BS; the VRC 207 Study Team.Chimpanzee Adenovirus Vector Ebola Vaccine - Preliminary Report. N Engl J Med. 2014 Nov 26.

Kibuuka H, Berkowitz NM, Millard M, Enama ME, Tindikahwa A, Sekiziyivu AB, Costner P, Sitar S, Glover D, Hu Z, Joshi G, Stanley D, Kunchai M, Eller LA, Bailer RT, Koup RA, Nabel GJ, Mascola JR, Sullivan NJ, Graham BS, Roederer M, Michael NL, Robb ML, Ledgerwood JE; the RV 247 Study Team. Safety and immunogenicity of Ebola virus and Marburg virus glycoprotein DNA vaccines assessed separately and concomitantly in healthy Ugandan adults: a phase 1b, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet. 2014 Dec 22.

Sarwar UN, Costner P, Enama ME, Berkowitz N, Hu Z, Hendel CS, Sitar S, Plummer S, Mulangu S, Bailer RT, Koup RA, Mascola JR, Nabel GJ, Sullivan NJ, Graham BS, Ledgerwood JE; VRC 206 Study Team. Safety and immunogenicity of DNA vaccines encoding ebolavirus and marburgvirus wild-type glycoproteins in a phase I clinical trial. J Infect Dis. 2015 Feb 15;211(4):549-57.

Chang LJ, Dowd KA, Mendoza FH, Saunders JG, Sitar S, Plummer SH, Yamshchikov G, Sarwar UN, Hu Z, Enama ME, Bailer RT, Koup RA, Schwartz RM, Akahata W, Nabel GJ, Mascola JR, Pierson TC, Graham BS, Ledgerwood JE; VRC 311 Study Team. Safety and tolerability of chikungunya virus-like particle vaccine in healthy adults: a phase 1 dose-escalation trial. Lancet. 2014 Dec 6;384(9959):2046-52.

Seder RA, Chang LJ, Enama ME, Zephir KL, Sarwar UN, Gordon IJ, Holman LA, James ER, Billingsley PF, Gunasekera A, Richman A, Chakravarty S, Manoj A, Velmurugan S, Li M, Ruben AJ, Li T, Eappen AG, Stafford RE, Plummer SH, Hendel CS, Novik L, Costner PJ, Mendoza FH, Saunders JG, Nason MC, Richardson JH, Murphy J, Davidson SA, Richie TL, Sedegah M, Sutamihardja A, Fahle GA, Lyke KE, Laurens MB, Roederer M, Tewari K, Epstein JE, Sim BK, Ledgerwood JE, Graham BS, Hoffman SL; VRC 312 Study Team. Protection against malaria by intravenous immunization with a nonreplicating sporozoite vaccine. Science. 2013 Sep 20;341(6152):1359-65.

Ledgerwood JE, Zephir K, Hu Z, Wei CJ, Chang L, Enama ME, Hendel CS, Sitar S, Bailer RT, Koup RA, Mascola JR, Nabel GJ, Graham BS; VRC 310 Study Team. Prime-boost interval matters: a randomized phase 1 study to identify the minimum interval necessary to observe the H5 DNA influenza vaccine priming effect. J Infect Dis. 2013 Aug 1;208(3):418-22.


Last Updated July 21, 2016