Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, PhD
Adjunct Professor, and Vice-Chair of Translational Medicine
Pathology Advanced Translational Research Unit (PATRU)
Emory University | Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Rafick Sekaly, obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, from the University of Lausanne and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Switzerland.
He is currently an Adjunct Professor and Vice-Chair of Translational Medicine at Emory University and the Eminent Scholar in Immune pathogenesis from the Georgia Research Alliance. He joined Emory in September 2020 from Case Western Reserve University, where he was Richard J. Fasenmyer Professor of Immunopathogenesis, co-director of the Center of Systems Immunology, and co-leader of Case Western’s COVID-19 task force.
Sekaly is one of the world’s leading researchers focused on a cure for HIV/AIDS and has led fundamental work on the persistence of the HIV reservoir and progression of HIV infection. For clinical trials, he has partnered with companies using gene therapy to make immune cells resistant to HIV. Sekaly’s lab has also pioneered the use of comprehensive and integrated system biology approaches to study immune T cell memory and exhaustion and as well the contribution of the innate immune responses to protective responses to vaccines.
From 2009 to 2014, Sekaly was scientific director of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute in Florida and was previously based at the University of Montreal and McGill.
Dr. Sekaly’s focus on HIV disease immune pathogenesis, immune virology, and immunotherapies has generated pioneering findings that highlight the impact of HIV infection on thymic output, T cell memory, mechanisms of CD4 and CD8 T cell dysfunction, and on innate immunity and mechanisms of HIV persistence. He has also pioneered the use of transcriptomics and bioinformatics to identify predictors/correlates of immune responses that lead to protection from viral infections, including HIV, SIV and flaviviruses, protection from disease progression and successful immune interventions including adjuvants, licensed preventative and therapeutic vaccines.
He is the principal investigator on numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Gilead Sciences Incorporation, Merck Research Laboratories, and more. His research group has been continuously funded since 1988 by federal and nonfederal grants.
Dr. Sekaly’s efforts have resulted in novel approaches to cancer and HIV vaccines and have led to more than 357 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and 25 patents in Adjuvants, PD-1 and vaccine vectors.