Rafi Ahmed, PhD

Titles and Roles

Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immuniology
Emory University School of Medicine
Vaccine Center Director
Emory Vaccine Center
Investigator
Emory Center for AIDS Research
Research Program
Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics

Biography

Dr. Rafi Ahmed, a member of the National Academy of Science, is a world-renowned immunologist whose work during the past decade has been highly influential in shaping our current understanding of memory T cell differentiation and anti-viral T and B cell immunity.

Research

The long-term goal of Dr. Ahmed's research is to understand the mechanisms of B and T cell immunological memory and to use this information to develop new vaccines for the prevention and treatment of disease. The Ahmed laboratory uses highly sophisticated cellular and molecular techniques to study antigen-specific immunological memory in murine, primate, and human systems.  A major area of focus is identifying cellular molecules that regulate the generation and maintenance of CD8 and CD4 T cell and humoral immunity. One such molecule is mTOR that we recently identified as a major regulator of memory CD8 T cell differentiation.

Another approach of the Ahmed laboratory is to understanding humoral memory development and maintenance. We have co-developed a novel method for rapidly generating human monoclonal antibodies after vaccination and have shown that broadly cross-reactive antibodies that recognize multiple influenza viruses can be generated after influenza vaccination in humans. These studies and those currently on going which include understanding the mechanisms that regulate the development of neutralizing antibody give rise to the possibility that a universal influenza vaccine could be developed in the near future.

Publications

Awards

Dr. Ahmed received the 2014 Emory 1% Award which recognizes Emory faculty whose National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposals have been ranked in the top 1% by NIH reviewers.

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