Kristina De Paris, PhD

Kristina De Paris, PhD

Associate Professor
9029 Burnett-Womack


Our research focuses on host-pathogen interactions in HIV-1 infection.  The long-term goal of our work is to prevent HIV-1 transmission by breast-feeding. Towards this goal we are performing pathogenesis and vaccine studies in the infant macaque model of oral SIV infection. We are currently defining the earliest sites of virus entry and local host immune responses to guide us in our pediatric HIV-1 vaccine studies.  Several questions are in the center of our studies. First, are oral or other mucosal routes of vaccine administration necessary to protect against oral HIV/SIV acquisition in infants? Can we exploit the intrinsic adjuvant activity of mycobacteria and develop a pediatric combination HIV-TB vaccine to protect against both HIV and TB infection? Could we prevent breast milk transmission of HIV-1 if we vaccinate both the pregnant mother and the baby by providing passive immunity to the infant when the immune system is still poorly functional and then by vaccinating the infant to develop protective anti-HIV immunity.

Realizing that pediatric vaccine design and implementation require a detailed understanding of immune development in infants, we are trying to understand how molecular mechanisms of immune signaling differ between human infants and adults and how these responses mature during the first year of life.  This knowledge will be instrumental for further vaccine optimization.

The translational aspect of our research is fostered by the integration of our lab into the Center of AIDS Research. 


K. Trott, J. Y. Chau, Hudgens, M.G., Fine, J., Mfalila, C.K., Tarara, R.P., Collins, W., Sullivan, J., Luckhart, S. and Abel, K. (2011): Evidence for an Increased Risk of SIV and Malaria Transmission in a Rhesus Macaque Co-Infection Model, J Virol, in press

M.L. Marthas, Van Rompay, K.K.A., Abbott, Z., Earl, P., Buoconore-Buzelli, L., Moss, B., Rose, N.F., Rose, J.K., Kozlowski, P.A. and Abel, K. (2011): Partial efficacy of a VSV-SIV/MVA-SIV vaccine regimen against oral SIV challenge in infant macaques. Vaccine, 29: 3124-3137

K. Abel, Martinez, J.,Yue, Y., Lacey, S.F., Wang, Z., Strelow, L., Dasgupta, A., Li, Z., Schmidt, K.A., Oxford, K.L., Assaf, B., Longmate, J.A., Diamond, D.J., and Barry, P.A. (2011): Vaccine-Induced Control of Viral Shedding Following Rhesus Cytomegalovirus Challenge in Vaccinated Rhesus Macaques (2011). J Virol, 85:2875-90.

Van Rompay, K.K., Abel, K., Earl, P., Kozlowski, P. A., Easlick, J., Moore, J., Buonocore-Buzzelli, L., Schmidt, K., Wilson, R.L., Simon, I., Moss, B., Rose, N., Rose, J., Marthas, M.L. (2011): Immunogenicity of viral vector, prime-boost SIV vaccine regimens in infant rhesus macaques: attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) recombinant SIV vaccines compared to live-attenuated SIV (2010). Vaccine, 28:1481-1492.

J. Easlick, S. Lantz, R. Szubin, N. Baumgarth, and Abel, K (2010): The early interferon alpha subtype response in infant macaques infected orally with SIV. Journal of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, J. Acquir Immune Defic Syndr., 55:14-28

K. Abel. (2009): The rhesus macaque pediatric SIV infection model – a valuable tool in understanding HIV pathogenesis and for designing pediatric HIV-1 prevention strategies. Current HIV Research, 7:2-11

K. Abel, Yue Y., Strelow, L., Eberhardt, M. K. , Schmidt, K. A., Barry, P. A. (2008): A Heterologous DNA Prime/Protein Boost Immunization Strategy for Rhesus Cytomegalovirus Vaccine. Vaccine, 26:6013-25
*Hartigan-O’Connor, D., *K. Abel, J. M. McCune (2007): Suppression of SIV-specific CD4+T cells by infant but not adult macaque regulatory T cells: implications for SIV disease progression. J. Exp. Med., 11:2679-2692

Abel, K. Pahar, B., Van Rompay, K.K., Fritts, L., Sin, C., Schmidt, K., Colon, R., McChesney, M. Marthas, M. (2006): Rapid virus dissemination in infant macaques after oral SIV exposure in the presence of local innate immune responses. J. Virol., 80: 6357-6367

Wang, Y., K. Abel, K. Lantz, A.M. Krieg, M.-B. McChesney, C.J. Miller (2005). Intravaginally applied TLR7 or TLR9 agonists induce local production of antiviral cytokines and chemokines but do not prevent vaginal simian immunodeficiency virus transmission in rhesus macaques. J. Viorology, 79:14355-14370

Abel, K., D. Rocke, B. Chohan, L. Fritts, C.J. Miller (2005). The temporal and anatomic relationship between virus replication and cytokine gene expression after vaginal SIV infection. J. Viorology, 79:12164-12172

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