Celestine N. Wanjalla, MD, PhD
Fellow, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine
Dr. Wanjalla’s long-term goal is to be a tenured physician-scientist conducting global research in academic medicine with a focus on reducing the burden of metabolic disease due to chronic viral infections, including HIV and herpes viruses. She holds a PhD in immunology and microbial pathogenesis with training in the basic principles of T cell and B cell immunology. As a graduate student, she established a mouse model to study a dendritic cell-based vaccine against HIV-1 using rabies virus as a vector. She demonstrated that rabies virus dendritic cell vaccines were equally immunogenic compared to the viral vector. However, co-expression of granulocyte macrophage-stimulating factor reduced the antigen-specific CD8 T cell responses in the model, independent of viral replication. Dr. Wanjalla’s research career has resulted in 15 publications and one research grant. Her training and research have increased her interest in the role of T cells in the pathogenesis of metabolic disease in individuals with chronic viral infections.