Christian Brander obtained his PhD in Immunology from the University of Bern in 1994 for his studies on T-cell hypersensitivity to Penicillin and work on the mechanisms of exogenous antigen re-presentation on HLA class I. He completed his post-doctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston focusing on T cell immunity to HIV and studying the impact that host genetics have on these immune responses. He was Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School before joining ICREA in 2008 with an appointment at the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute to continue his work on cellular immunity to viral infections (HIV, HCV and herpesviruses), especially also in the transplantation setting. He is a co-inventor of the HIV "HTI" immunogen, which is developed clinically by Aelix Therapeutics Inc. where he is a co-founder and CSO. He serves as the scientific director of the HIVACAT program and holds an Associate Professor position at the University of Vic and Central Catalonia.
Our group aims to understand the cellular immunity to viral infections in the immune compromised host, including HIV infected subjects and individuals undergoing organ transplantation. Using complementary sets of immune analyses and integrated -omics approaches, we seek to identify functional correlates of virus control and to explore their underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms. A main focus lies on the definition of biomarkers of controlled HIV infection, for which we have established unique cohorts of HIV-infected and HIV-exposed, yet uninfected individuals. We developed and apply new ("boosted") flow cytometry tools and combine methylome and communicome analyses to assess to what degree and at what stages of HIV infection the effector function profiles of virus-specific T cells are epigenetically controlled. Our studies aim to refine future clinical trials of therapeutic HIV vaccination and to guide clinical management of viral infections in transplanted individuals
Key wordsHIV, cellular immunity, host genetics, viral evolution, viral immunity in solid organ transplantation