Tae-Wook Chun, Ph.D.

Tae-Wook Chun, Ph.D

Chief, HIV Immunovirology Section

Major Areas of Research

  • Persistence of viral reservoirs in HIV-infected individuals receiving antiretroviral therapy.
  • Viral dynamics and immunologic control of HIV replication in infected individuals.
  • Development of therapeutic strategies aimed at achieving sustained virologic control in HIV-infected individuals in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.

Program Description

Our research program focuses on 1) delineating the role of viral reservoirs in the pathogenesis of HIV disease; 2) examining host and viral factors that contribute to the maintenance of HIV reservoirs; and 3) developing therapeutic strategies aimed at achieving durable virologic control in infected individuals in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. Our research program utilizes Bench-to-Bedside approaches. We conduct comprehensive genetic, immunologic, and virologic analyses of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in diverse cohorts of HIV-infected individuals in order to address fundamental pathogenic questions, such as elucidating mechanisms of viral persistence, the role of the host immunity in containment of viral replication and evaluating promising novel therapeutic agents in both ex vivo and in vivo settings. Based on findings from bench research, we also conduct phase I clinical trials in close collaboration with the NIAID HIV clinic, with the ultimate goal of developing safe, effective, and scalable therapeutic strategies that would allow HIV-infected individuals to control viral replication in the absence of daily antiretroviral drugs.


Dr. Chun received his Ph.D. from the Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology Graduate Program from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he the first to discover latently infected, resting CD4+ T cells in HIV-infected individuals. In 1997, he was recruited by Dr. Anthony Fauci in the Laboratory of Immunoregulation at NIAID to pursue his studies on HIV persistence in infected individuals receiving antiretroviral therapy as a post-doctoral research fellow. In 2001, Dr. Chun was appointed to the position of staff scientist and, in 2016, he became a tenure track investigator after being selected from the Trans-NIH Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Program. Dr. Chun received full tenure in 2020.

Research Group

Members of the HIV Immunovirology Section Research Group

  • Jana Blazkova, Ph.D., staff scientist
  • J. Shawn Justement, senior research assistant
  • Brooke D. Kennedy, postbaccalaureate fellow, Intramural Research Training Awards Program
  • M. Ali Rai, M.D., Ph.D., staff clinician
  • Victoria Shi, M.S., senior research assistant

Selected Publications

Blazkova J, Gao F, Marichannegowda MH, Justement JS, Shi V, Whitehead EJ, Schneck RF, Huiting ED, Gittens K, Cottrell M, Benko E, Kovacs C, Lack J, Sneller MC, Moir S, Fauci AS, Chun TW. Distinct mechanisms of long-term virologic control in two HIV-infected individuals after treatment interruption of anti-retroviral therapy. Nat Med. 2021 Oct.

Blazkova J, Huiting ED, Boddapati AK, Shi V, Whitehead EJ, Justement JS, Nordstrom J, Moir S, Lack J, Chun TW. TIGIT expression on CD8+ T cells correlates with higher cytotoxic capacity. J Infect Dis. 2021 Mar:jiab155.

Jiang C, Lian X, Gao C, Sun X, Einkauf KB, Chevalier JM, Chen SMY, Hua S, Rhee B, Chang K, Blackmer JE, Osborn M, Peluso MJ, Hoh R, Somsouk M, Milush J, Bertagnolli LN, Sweet SE, Varriale JA, Burbelo PD, Chun TW, Laird GM, Serrao E, Engelman AN, Carrington M, Siliciano RF, Siliciano JM, Deeks SG, Walker BD, Lichterfeld M, Yu XG. Distinct viral reservoirs in individuals with spontaneous control of HIV-1. Nature. 2020 Sep;585(7824):261-267.

Blazkova J, Refsland EW, Clarridge KE, Shi V, Justement JS, Huiting ED, Gittens KR, Chen X, Schmidt SD, Liu C, Doria-Rose N, Mascola JR, Heredia A, Moir S, Chun TW. Glycan-dependent HIV-specific neutralizing antibodies bind to cells of uninfected individuals. J Clin Invest. 2019 Nov;129(11):4832-4837.

Wang CY, Wong WW, Tsai HC, Chen YH, Kuo BS, Lynn S, Blazkova J, Clarridge KE, Su HW, Lin CY, Tseng FC, Lai A, Yang FH, Lin CH, Tseng W, Lin HY, Finstad CL, Wong-Staal F, Hanson CV, Chun TW, Liao MJ. Effect of Anti-CD4 Antibody UB-421 on HIV-1 Rebound after Treatment Interruption. N Engl J Med. 2019 Apr;380(16):1535-1545.

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