IDCRC Investigator Profile: Angela R. Branche, MD


Angela Branche is an associate professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. In partnership with Ann Falsey, MD, they both serve as co-principal investigators for the University of Rochester Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (UR VTEU).

How long have you worked with a VTEU?

I have been with VTEU since December 2019. We were awarded the grant as a new VTEU right before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Our participation in the inaugural meeting was the day that we saw the first SARS-CoV-2 case on United States soil. Site Profile

Briefly describe the IDCRC-supported trials you’ve worked on.

We worked on ACTT trials 1-4 clinical trials related to the development of treatments for COVID-19 with ACTT 1 and 2 being among the top 10 enrolling sites. I was also a co-investigator for AstraZeneca (AZ) Phase 3 COVID vaccine trial. We are a site for MOMI-VAXMix-and-Match, and COVAIL, the latter of which I serve as the national protocol co-chair. Learn more about IDCRC Studies

Of these trials, what has been the most impactful or highlight of the work?

The most impactful trials for me have been ACTT 1, Mix and Match, and COVAIL. When ACTT 1 began, on both a professional and personal level, it was devastating to see the effects of COVID-19 on patients in our hospital. We felt a sense of impotence since we didn’t know how to treat these patients and had never experienced anything quite like this before. I remember the evening when John Beigel arranged an emergency call to tell us the data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) stopped the study early because Remdesivir was shown to be beneficial. This was just a few days after my uncle had passed away from COVID-19. We gave a press conference that week and were able to inform our community that we had found something that worked and was privileged to have been able to provide it to some of the desperately ill patients in our community.  

Mix and Match was a study—in real-time—that was able to impact vaccine policy worldwide by allowing the mixing of vaccine regimens for boosters, which overall expanded access to effective protection.

Lastly, as the co-chair for COVAIL it has been rewarding to be at the forefront of scientific investigation and thought pertaining to how to adapt vaccines to have more broadly cross-protective and durable immunity in the face of a changing pandemic and newly emergent variants of concern. I have also loved getting to know the network, working with Nadine Rouphael, and participating in the design of this trial and interpretation of science.

What is a strength or example of the importance of the IDCRC during the pandemic and beyond?

The IDCRC brings together scientists with a vast array of skills and knowledge. This platform to share intellectual thought and experience allows the network to be very impactful for all emerging infections of public health concern.

What do you like to do outside of the VTEU?

Outside of the VTEU, I love to spend time with my family and engage with my community. Music is one of my favorite things from playing instruments, to attending concerts, or dancing. I love to travel and look forward to many more adventures like hiking the Incan trail or white water rafting in the Amazon.