Rafi Ahmed, PhD


Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine

ARTDTP Research Discipline

The mechanism of viral persistence remains a major unresolved problem and the goal of the Ahmed laboratory is to understand how viruses evade or suppress the immune response, including by those compounds that behave directly or indirectly as anti-infectives, and persist in vivo. Dr. Ahmed's research efforts are directed towards understanding the mechanisms of immunological memory and using this knowledge to develop novel immunological strategies and new, more effective vaccines. Current studies are focused on: 1) Understanding the differentiation and maintenance of memory CD8 T cells; 2) comparing the quality of memory T cells induced by different vaccines; 3) elucidating the nature of CD4 T cell help in maintaining CD8 T cell responses during acute and chronic viral infections; 4) developing immunological strategies for enhancing T cell responses during chronic viral infections; 5) understanding the mechanisms involved in generating long-lived plasma cells; and 6) analyzing immunological memory in transplant recipients. A Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Ahmed is also Director of the Emory Vaccine Center (EVC), which was established in 1996. The EVC represents one of the largest vaccine centers in the world, and is renowned for its expertise in cellular immunity and immune memory. Specific projects dealing with vaccine development against viral and bacterial pathogens as well as vaccines to protect against malaria provide unique research and educational opportunities for ARTDTP trainees.


ARTDTP Faculty Collaborators

Rama R. Amara, PhD

Arash Grakoui, PhD

Bruce R. Levin, PhD

Jyothi Rengarajan, PhD

Thomas M. Shinnick, PhD

David S. Weiss, PhD