Welcome to the Gene Therapy and Vaccines program!

The Gene Therapy and Vaccines Program focuses on the use of animal and human gene transfer for therapeutic purposes and for vaccination. The mission of the graduate program is to produce exceptional investigators who will become outstanding researchers in the field.

Overview | Trainee Seminar | GTV Committees

GTV Overview

Students in the program acquire a broad background in molecular biology, cell biology, physiology, immunology and virology. Program faculty conduct research in basic cell biology, molecular biology, developmental biology, molecular physiology, virology and immunology. While the goals of the research are disease-based with the objective of developing prophylactic and therapeutic applications, student training focuses on a basic understanding of disease pathobiology and achieving efficient and effective gene transfer in humans. Students contribute to research of cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, lysosomal storage disease, inherited blindness, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and immunologic and infectious diseases. Study of vaccines for prophylactic, as well as therapeutic applications are emphasized. Specific focus is provided through a survey course in gene therapy and vaccines and through advanced seminars in specific areas of gene therapy and/or vaccine research.

Overview | Trainee Seminar | GTV Committees

Trainee Seminar

The program runs a bi-weekly trainee seminar where graduate students present their rotation experiences and dissertation research. The 2020-21 speaker schedule is listed below. 


Bryan Simpson - Davidson Lab
CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing Strategies of ATXN2 for the Treatment of Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 2

McKensie Collins - Melenhorst & June Labs
Understanding CAR T cell Dysfunction in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Ryan Roark - Shaw Lab
Ontogeny of HIV-1 V2 apex broadly neutralizing antibodies in SHIV-infected rhesus macaques


R. Alex Martino - Wilson Lab
Understanding the Mechanisms of PHP.B Transport Across the Murine Blood-Brain Barrier

Sangya Agarwal - June Lab
Investigating the role of cell-intrinsic checkpoint regulators PD1 and CTLA4 in Chimeric antigen receptor T cells


Katherine Quiroz-Figueroa - Rader Lab
Characterizing the Physiological and Molecular Mechanism by Which hepatic Trib1 Regulates Plasma Lipids in Mice

Erin Reagan - Bar & Weissman Labs
Patient-derived HCV-like particle expressed by a lipid nanoparticle-encapsulated nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine for HCV prophylaxis via bNAb elicitation 

Leon Morales - Stedman & Bennett, J Labs
Assessing the Safety and Efficacy of a Gene Transfer Approach for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 


Rotation Talks Group 1


Rotation Talks Group 2


Max Chappell - Rivella Lab
Lentiviral Vectors as Therapeutic Options for the Treatment of Alpha-Thalassemia


Kimberly Veliz - Gill Lab
Uncovering the role of CD38 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Kelly Fagan - Davidson Lab

Chris Choe - Musunuru Lab
Assaying the potential cardioprotective effect of MTSS1 downregulation against dilated cardiomyopathy


Sylvia Stankov - Rader Lab
Functional Analysis of Triglyceride Regulator ApoA-V Using Naturally-Occurring Human Genetic Variants

Edward Song - Milone Lab
Combining IAP Inhibitors with CAR-T Cell Therapy to Treat Glioblastoma

Suying Liu - Henao-Mejia Lab
Combining IAP Inhibitors with CAR-T Cell Therapy to Treat Glioblastoma


Laura Ohl - Aquizu-Lopez Lab

Ethan Jung - Fraietta Lab

Alex Zezulin - Speck Lab


Rotation Talks Group 1


Rotation Talks Group 2


Jacob Hoffman - Wilson Lab

Kimberly Apodaca - Linette Lab

Kelly Martins - Wilson Lab


Coral Kasden - Stedman Lab

Matt Pine - Weissman & Pardi Labs

Joangela Nouel - White Lab


Rotation Talks Group 1


Rotation Talks Group 2

Overview | Trainee Seminar | GTV Committees


GTV Committees

Dr. Henry Daniell
Dr. Saar Gill
Dr. Jos Melenhorst
Dr. Ed Moon


To help first and second year students navigate the program, the following faculty are available to advise.

For inquiries about Gene Transfer: Beverly Davidson, Stefano Rivella, Denise Sabatino
For inquireies about CART: Marco Ruella
For inquiries about Immunology-Harnessing the immune system: Michael Milone
For inquiries about Immunology-Vaccines: Norbert Pardi, David Weiner
For inquiries about Cell Therapies: Frederick (Chris) Bennett

GTV Peer Mentoring Program

This program is led by GTV student Laura Ohl, and currently consists of:

  • Monthly group peer mentoring lunches
  • 1:1 mentor - mentee matching
  • Off campus peer mentoring meet-ups to facilitate the peer-mentee relationship
  • GTV wide events to encourage upper level graduate students to interact with incoming graduate students

If you have any recommendations, requests, or suggestions to improve the peer mentoring program, please contact Laura Ohl directly.


Dr. Stefano Rivella,  Program Chair
Dr. Denise Sabatino,  Vice Program Chair
Erin Reagan,  GTV Student Representative to CAMB Curriculum Committee


Dr. Stefano Rivella, Program Chair
Dr. Denise Sabatino, Vice Program Chair
Dr. Katie Bar
Dr. Beverly Davidson
Dr. Saar Gill
Dr. David Weiner