Vijayakumar Velu PhD


Other Affiliations:

  • Affiliate Faculty, Emory National Primate Research Center , Emory Vaccine Center
  • Investigator, CFAR
  • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • Emory Vaccine Center

External Links (e.g. Departmental web site, iTunes lectures, etc.):

Degrees Held:

  • Ph.D, University of Madras, 2005

Biography/Description of Research:

Dr. Vijayakumar Velu completed his postgraduate (Microbiology) in 2000 at Madurai Kamaraj University, India. He received his Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology/ Immunology from the University of Madras in 2005, under the guidance of world-renowned scientist Dr.S.P. Thyagarajan. During his doctoral studies, he focused on viral hepatitis, particularly on HBV/HCV/HIV co-infection. He demonstrated that co-infection of viral hepatitis in HIV infected individuals is a major problem in India. He also investigated the safety and efficacy of a novel indigenous recombinant hepatitis B vaccine from India (Genevac-B, developed by the Serum Institute of India). He Joined Emory Vaccine Center/Emory National Primate Center in the year 2005 and completed his postdoctoral training in 2010, which focused on developing therapeutic strategies to enhance immune response during chronic HIV infection/therapeutic vaccination. His studies demonstrated that blockade of inhibitory receptor Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) using an anti-PD-1 antibody during chronic SIV infection restored functional anti-viral T/ B cells, reduced SIV/HIV viral RNA levels, and increased the host survival. As a co-inventor of the PD-1 technology, along with his mentors Dr. Rama Rao Amara and Dr. Rafi Ahmed, he got a US patent entitled: Methods for the treatment of Infections and Tumors; # 20150239972, and this PD-1 technology has been licensed to Genentech by Emory University.

He has been involved in HIV/AIDS Immunology, Pathogenesis, and Vaccine development studies for the past 20 years. He has authored or co-authored 94 peer-reviewed publications in this field, including some in the highest impact journals (Nature, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science Translation Medicine, etc.). He is an Associate Editor of the Viral immunology section of the Frontiers in Immunology. He also serve as an editorial member for the Vaccines and Therapeutic Development section of Pathogens (MDPI). In addition, he served as a member of several study sections, including HIV Vaccine Research & Development (HIVRAD), HIV molecular Virology, Cell biology and Drug development (HVCD), Special Emphasis Panel (SEP), and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Currently, his lab research is focused on the development of therapeutic strategies to enhance immune response during chronic HIV infection/therapeutic vaccination for HIV cure using non-human primates (NHPs). In addition, his lab also focuses on studying Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in human and non-human primate models. He uses the rhesus macaque model to investigate the cellular dynamics of T and NK cells in Mtb (latent, active) and Mtb/SIV co-infection. Specific research includes characterization of frequency, phenotype, and function of Tissue Resident T cells (TRMs), T follicular Helper cells, and NK cells in Mtb and Mtb/SIV co-infected macaques.

His lab collaborates with several institutions in the United States and in India for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis studies. His lab strongly believes a better understanding of the roles of cellular mechanisms in generating effective immune responses that govern the induction of host resistance versus immunopathology is critical for successful immune intervention and rational design of more effective vaccines and immunotherapies for deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Works 1-10 of 16

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Molecular signatures of T-cell inhibition in HIV-1 infection

by Marie Larsson; Esaki M. Shankar; Karlhans F. Che; Alireza Saeidi; Rada Ellegård; Muttiah Barathan; Vijayakumar Velu; Adeeba Kamarulzaman



Lymph node CXCR5(+) NK cells associate with control of chronic SHIV infection

by Rama Amara; Francois Villinger; Chris Ibegbu; Robert Johnson; Steven Bosinger; Vijayakumar Velu; Ashish Sharma; Sheikh Rahman; Rafick-Pierre Sekaly; JM Billingsley; TM Styles; S Govindaraj; U Shanmugasundaram; H Babu; SP Riberio; SA Ali; GK Tharp; SN Waggoner



Preexisting Vaccinia Virus Immunity Decreases SIV-Specific Cellular Immunity but does not diminish Humoral Immunity and Efficacy of a DNA/MVA Vaccine

by Sunil Kannanganat; Pragati Nigam; Vijayakumar Velu; Patricia L. Earl; Lilin Lai; Lakshmi Chennareddi; Benton Lawson; Robert L. Wilson; David C. Montefiori; Pamela A. Kozlowski; Bernard Moss; Harriet Robinson; Rama Rao Amara



Elevated Numbers of HIV-Specific Poly-Functional CD8(+) T Cells With Stem Cell-Like and Follicular Homing Phenotypes in HIV-Exposed Seronegative Individuals

by Vijayakumar Velu; S Munusamy Ponnan; K Thiruvengadam; S Kathirvel; J Shankar; A Rajaraman; M Mathaiyan; TR Dinesha; S Poongulali; S Saravanan; KG Murugavel; S Swaminathan; SP Tripathy; U Neogi; LE Hanna



Is Herd Immunity Against SARS-CoV-2 a Silver Lining?

by Ramachandran Vignesh; Esaki M. Shankar; Vijayakumar Velu; Sadras Panchatcharam Thyagarajan



Combination anti-PD-1 and antiretroviral therapy provides therapeutic benefit against SIV.

by Geetha H. Mylvaganam; Lynette S. Chea; Gregory K. Tharp; Sakeenah Hicks; Vijayakumar Velu; Smita Iyer; Claire Deleage; Jacob D. Estes; Steven Bosinger; Gordon J. Freeman; Rafi Ahmed; Rama Rao Amara



Strong T(H)1-biased CD4 T cell responses are associated with diminished SIV vaccine efficacy

by Venkateswarlu Chamcha; Pradeep B. J. Reddy; Sunil Kannanganat; Courtney Wilkins; Sailaja Gangadhara; Vijayakumar Velu; Richard Green; G. Lynn Law; Jean Chang; James R. Bowen; Pamela A. Kozlowski; Michelle Lifton; Sampa Santra; Traci Legere; Lynette S. Chea; Lakshmi Chennareddi; Tianwei Yu; Mehul Suthar; Guido Silvestri; Cynthia Derdeyn; Michael Gale; Francois Villinger; Eric Hunter; Rama Amara