Rafi Ahmed, PhD

LG Laboratory Sciences Committee Chair
Rafi Ahmed, PhD

Contact Information


Dr. Ahmed is a member of the National Academy of Science and a world-renowned immunologist whose work during the past decade has been highly influential in shaping our current understanding of memory T cell differentiation and anti-viral T and B cell immunity. As Director of the Emory Vaccine Center, the long-term goal of Dr. Ahmed's research is to understand the mechanisms of B and T cell immunological memory and to use this information to develop new vaccines for the prevention and treatment of disease. The Ahmed laboratory uses highly sophisticated cellular and molecular techniques to study antigen-specific immunological memory in murine, primate, and human systems. 

A major area of focus is identifying cellular molecules that regulate the generation and maintenance of CD8 and CD4 T cell and humoral immunity. One such molecule is mTOR that was recently identified as a major regulator of memory CD8 T cell differentiation. Another area of focus is to develop strategies to restore function in virus-specific T cells during a chronic viral infection such as HIV or Varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Another approach of the Ahmed laboratory is understanding humoral memory development and maintenance. Dr. Ahmed’s lab has co-developed a novel method for rapidly generating human monoclonal antibodies after vaccination. This research has shown that broadly cross-reactive antibodies that recognize multiple influenza viruses can be generated after influenza vaccination in humans. These studies give rise to the possibility that a universal influenza vaccine could be developed soon.

KFC Scope