Ebola and Marburg viruses have been identified as the cause of several highly lethal outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever for which there is no treatment or cure. Therefore, vaccine studies are critically important for protection against infection. The Biodefense Research Section (BRS) has developed highly effective vaccine strategies for Ebola virus infection in non-human primates.
The aim of the Cellular Immunology Section (CIS) is to provide a mechanistic basis for developing vaccines for diseases that require humoral and cellular immunity. The specific focus is on preventive vaccines against HIV, malaria and tuberculosis and therapeutic vaccines against cancer.
The primary mission of the VRC Clinical Trials Program (CTP) is to carry out clinical research through both an intramural program based at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center and through a broad range of support for external trials conducted by VRC collaborators and partners.
The Human Immunology Section (HIS) studies the processes that determine the course of human diseases in which the immune system, particularly its T-cell arm, plays a central role in their pathogenesis and outcome. Furthermore, our aim is to use the knowledge gained through these studies to initiate clinical studies of new therapeutic and vaccine approaches.
The Humoral Immunology Section (HIMS) focuses on understanding antibody-mediated protective immune responses against HIV-1 using studies of both the plasma antibody compartment and the B-cell compartment. The goal of these studies is to elucidate mechanisms of virus neutralization and the viral epitopes targeted by neutralizing antibodies and to translate this information into novel strategies for vaccine design.
The mission of the Immunology Laboratory (IML) is to investigate novel aspects of the cellular immune response to pathogens in support of the rational development of a vaccine against HIV and other lethal human viral pathogens.
The ImmunoTechnology Section (ITS) is dedicated to understanding the roles and interactions of the individual components of the mature central immune system, with a particular eye toward the changes occurring during acute or chronic antigenic challenge. In general, we are looking for immunological correlates of protection (for vaccines) and correlates of pathogenesis (in disease).
The Structural Biology Section (SBS) seeks to apply structural biology to the development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine. Despite the enormous potential of atomic-level design—successfully used, for example, in the development of potent drugs against the HIV-1 protease—current vaccine development makes little use of atomic-level information. We are trying to change this.
The goal of the Vaccine Production Program Laboratory (VPPL) is to efficiently translate candidate research vaccines into materials for proof-of-concept clinical trials and to enable advanced development and licensure by partners.
The Translational Research Program (TRP) serves three major functions at the VRC: 1) provides centralized support and service for all in vivo research conducted at the VRC, 2) conducts collaborative research and animal model development, and 3) operates a fully accredited lab animal facility.
The goal of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory (VPL) is to better understand basic aspects of viral pathogenesis and apply that knowledge toward development of safer and more effective vaccines.
The mission of the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) is to translate basic scientific knowledge into vaccine products intended for clinical use. In order to carry out the development and analysis of new vaccine candidates, the VRC has established several laboratories, including the Virology Laboratory (VL).