Julie McElrath, MD, PhD

Fred Hutchinson, LOU Co-Director
Julie McElrath, MD, PhD

Contact Information


Dr. McElrath is a senior vice president and director of the vaccine and infectious disease division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and principal investigator of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network Laboratory Center in Seattle, Washington. She also is a professor at the University of Washington. Dr. McElrath has built and maintains an international HIV vaccine laboratory program, conducted translational immunological research in humans in a multicenter setting.  She has assumed a leadership role or been a major contributor in a number of integrated programs at the national and international level to advance a coordinated effort to tackle the HIV epidemic through prevention efforts: the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (PI and Director of the Laboratory Program), the Gates Foundation Innate Immunity Consortium (PI), the Microbicide Trials Network (Director, Immunology Core) and the Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit (PI). Her research has contributed to our fundamental understanding of how HIV-1 enters the mucosa to establish infection, identified persons with very low levels of HIV DNA who otherwise lack all evidence of infection, assembled invaluable cohorts from which to elucidate mechanisms of risk for HIV infection and disease. She has also mentored junior faculty, young investigators, and graduate students.  Dr. McElrath's research centers on developing an HIV vaccine and investigates the complex relationships between HIV and the immune system, investigating how components of T-cell immunity elicited early in HIV-1 infection contribute to control of HIV-1 disease, what the influence of antiretroviral therapy is, whether T-cell immune responses are involved in resistance to HIV-1 infection in high-risk persons, how antigen-specific mucosal T cells protect against HIV-1 exposure, and what elements of immunity correlate with protection against HIV-1 infection by vaccine.