Kathy Foulds, Ph.D.

Chief, Nonhuman Primate Immunogenicity Core

Major Areas of Research

  • Preclinical evaluation of candidate vaccines in nonhuman primates (NHP)
  • Isolation of cells from NHP tissues and cyropreservation
  • Development, optimization, and standardization of assays using NHP cells

Program Description

Immunological evaluations in NHP models are essential for the advancement of vaccine research. In particular, vaccination and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) challenge of macaque species is the best animal model for evaluating candidate HIV vaccines in pre-clinical studies. As a result, the Nonhuman Primate Immunogenicity Core (NIC) was established to support the research efforts of investigators at the VRC.

The NIC manages basic, translational, and preclinical NHP studies. Basic research interests include lymphocyte trafficking, the generation and maintenance of memory responses in systemic and mucosal sites, and pathogenesis following SIV infection. Translational research studies are performed to optimize a variety of different platforms and vectors by studying the effects of different adjuvants, schedules, and delivery methods on immunogenicity. Finally, the data from preclinical testing of vaccines in NHP models is used to support moving clinical products forward to human testing and can be critical to regulatory filings.

All studies that are conducted through the NIC are processed in a standardized manner using the same standard operating procedures (SOPs) for tissue preparation and T-cell assays. For example, the NIC uses a qualified 8-color ICS panel and assay for the measurement of IFNγ, IL-2, and TNF from CD4 and CD8 T cells. An 11-color variant that allows for the measurement of memory markers in addition to cytokines is also available. To perform these operations, the NIC uses state-of-the-art technologies available at the VRC including 18-color FACS analyzers, 18-color sorters (one in BSL-3 containment), reagent manufacturing capabilities, and the Fluidigm real-time PCR system for single-cell gene expression.

Other responsibilities of the NIC include the following: consulting on the design and implementation of NHP studies, maintaining a bank of NHP tissue samples for use by VRC investigators, and collating, analyzing, and coordinating data.

For more information on research conducted by Kathy Foulds, Ph.D. visit the ImmunoTechnology Section.


Dr. Foulds received her M.S. in biotechnology in 1998 from John Hopkins University and her Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology in 2003 from the University of Pennsylvania. Her academic interests focused on immunology as well as molecular and microbiology. As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Robert Seder’s laboratory at the VRC, Dr. Foulds investigated the role of IL-10 and IFNγ in regulating the generation of memory T cells following vaccination or infection of mice. Dr. Foulds became the assistant director of flow cytometry for the Immune Tolerance Network in 2008, where she managed three remote flow cytometry cores that acquired data for 15 clinical trials. She analyzed the flow cytometry data for quality control as well as for interpreting study results. Dr. Foulds was also responsible for designing flow cytometry panels and coordinating research and development projects performed at the flow cores. Dr. Foulds accepted the position of co-chief, NIC, in 2008.

Selected Publications

Stanley DA, Honko AN, Asiedu C, Trefry JC, Lau-Kilby AW, Johnson JC, Hensley L, Ammendola V, Abbate A, Grazioli F, Foulds KE, Cheng C, Wang L, Donaldson MM, Colloca S, Folgori A, Roederer M, Nabel GJ, Mascola J, Nicosia A, Cortese R, Koup RA, Sullivan NJ. Chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine generates acute and durable protective immunity against ebolavirus challengeNat Med. 2014 Sep 7.

Roederer M, Keele BF, Schmidt SD, Mason RD, Welles HC, Fischer W, Labranche C, Foulds KE, Louder MK, Yang ZY, Todd JP, Buzby AP, Mach LV, Shen L, Seaton KE, Ward BM, Bailer RT, Gottardo R, Gu W, Ferrari G, Alam SM, Denny TN, Montefiori DC, Tomaras GD, Korber BT, Nason MC, Seder RA, Koup RA, Letvin NL, Rao SS, Nabel GJ, Mascola JR. Immunological and virological mechanisms of vaccine-mediated protection against SIV and HIVNature. 2014 Jan 23;505(7484):502-8.

Ault A, Tennant SM, Gorres JP, Eckhaus M, Sandler NG, Roque A, Livio S, Bao S, Foulds KE, Kao SF, Roederer M, Schmidlein P, Boyd MA, Pasetti MF, Douek DC, Estes JD, Nabel GJ, Levine MM, Rao SS. Safety and tolerability of a live oral Salmonella typhimurium vaccine candidate in SIV-infected nonhuman primatesVaccine. 2013 Dec 2;31(49):5879-88.

Donaldson MM, Kao SF, Eslamizar L, Gee C, Koopman G, Lifton M, Schmitz JE, Sylwester AW, Wilson A, Hawkins N, Self SG, Roederer M, Foulds KE. Optimization and qualification of an 8-color intracellular cytokine staining assay for quantifying T cell responses in rhesus macaques for pre-clinical vaccine studies. J Immunol Methods. 2012 Dec 14;386(1-2):10-21.

Flatz L, Cheng C, Wang L, Foulds KE, Ko SY, Kong WP, Roychoudhuri R, Shi W, Bao S, Todd JP, Asmal M, Shen L, Donaldson M, Schmidt SD, Gall JG, Pinschewer DD, Letvin NL, Rao S, Mascola JR, Roederer M, Nabel GJ. Gene-based vaccination with a mismatched envelope protects against simian immunodeficiency virus infection in nonhuman primates. J Virol. 2012 Aug;86(15):7760-70.

Foulds KE, Donaldson M, Roederer M. OMIP-005: Quality and phenotype of antigen-responsive rhesus macaque T cells.Cytometry A. 2012 May;81(5):360-1.

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Content last reviewed on March 23, 2015