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Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine Research and Development

Photo of David Charles Montefiori, PhD

David Charles Montefiori, PhD

Office: Surgical Oncolology Res Fac, Durham, NC 27710
Campus Mail: Box 2926 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919-684-5278

Scientific Focus

Dr. Montefiori’s major research interests are viral immunology and HIV vaccine development, with a special emphasis on neutralizing antibodies. One of his highest priorities is to identify immunogens that generate broadly neutralizing antibodies for inclusion in vaccines. Many aspects of neutralizing antibodies are studied in his laboratory, including mechanisms of neutralization, viral escape from neutralization, epitope diversity among the many different genetic subtypes and geographic distributions of the virus, neutralization epitopes, and the requirements to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies by vaccination.

Over the years he has explored multiple technologies for measuring neutralizing antibodies and other potential antiviral antibodies, focusing on assay optimization, standardization, validation and high throughput. The scope of his research covers HIV-infected people and nonhuman primate models of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) infection.

Dr. Montefiori also directs a large vaccine immune monitoring program that operates in compliance with Good Clinical Laboratory Practice and has served as a national and international resource for standardized assessments of neutralizing antibody responses in preclinical and clinical trials of candidate HIV vaccines since 1988. In 2002, he chaired the Antibody Laboratory Standardization Working Group that assisted in the design of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Strategic Plan for HIV vaccines. He currently directs the Core Neutralizing Antibody Laboratories for the HIV Vaccine Clinical Trials Network (HVTN), the NIH Preclinical HIV-1 Vaccine Program, and the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology-Immunogen Design (CHAVI-ID) and, more recently, the Duke Center for HIV/AIDS Research (CFAR). He also directs a large Comprehensive Antibody Vaccine Immune Monitoring Consortium (CAVIMC) as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD). He has published over 500 original research papers that have helped shape the scientific rationale for antibody-based HIV vaccines.


Key Projects Underway

  • Ongoing characterization of the global neutralization serotypes of HIV-1
  • Identification of optimal combination of broadly neutralizing antibodies for HIV-1 prevention and treatment
  • Immunologic correlates of protection against the acquisition of HIV infection
  • Structural and immunologic requirements for broadly neutralizing antibody induction
  • Novel HIV-1 vaccine designs

Selected Achievements

  • Established “gold standard” reference strains and validated assays for highly standardized assessments of HIV-1 vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibodies.
  • Tiered categorization of HIV-1 neutralization phenotypes.
  • Detailed analyses of the magnitude, breadth, and complementarity of HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies.
  • Identification of novel neutralization epitopes.
  • First report of the initial HIV-1 autologous neutralizing antibody response targeting a broadly neutralizing epitope.
  • Demonstration that vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibodies can protect against the acquisition of simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) infection in nonhuman primates.
  • Identification of HIV-1 genetic signatures of neutralization. Translation of this information to vaccine design.
  • Discovery and characterization of complement-mediated antibody-dependent enhancement of HIV-1 infection in vitro. Subsequent identification of C3d and CD21 as the major pathway for complement opsonization by HIV-1. Discovery that HIV-1 acquires complement regulatory proteins (e.g., CD46, CD55 and CD59) as it buds from the surface of host cells and protect the virus from complement-mediated destruction.
  • Role of Fc gamma receptors in potentiating antibody-mediated HIV-1 neutralization through entry inhibition.
  • Demonstration of genetic drift and clade preferences in HIV-1 neutralization epitopes.

Advanced Training

Basic and applied research projects focusing on HIV-1 vaccine development 

Contact Us

David C. Montefiori, Ph.D.
Phone: 919-684-5278

Latest Publications

Goldblatt, David, Andrew Fiore-Gartland, Marina Johnson, Adam Hunt, Christopher Bengt, Dace Zavadska, Hilda Darta Snipe, et al. “Towards a population-based threshold of protection for COVID-19 vaccines.” Vaccine 40, no. 2 (January 21, 2022): 306–15.

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Gilbert, Peter B., David C. Montefiori, Adrian B. McDermott, Youyi Fong, David Benkeser, Weiping Deng, Honghong Zhou, et al. “Immune correlates analysis of the mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccine efficacy clinical trial.” Science 375, no. 6576 (January 7, 2022): 43–50.

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Huang, Yunda, Oleg Borisov, Jia Jin Kee, Lindsay N. Carpp, Terri Wrin, Suqin Cai, Marcella Sarzotti-Kelsoe, et al. “Calibration of two validated SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus neutralization assays for COVID-19 vaccine evaluation.” Sci Rep 11, no. 1 (December 14, 2021): 23921.

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Eslamizar, L., C. Petrovas, D. J. Leggat, K. Furr, M. L. Lifton, G. Levine, S. Ma, et al. “Recombinant MVA-prime elicits neutralizing antibody responses by inducing antigen-specific B cells in the germinal center.” In Npj Vaccines, Vol. 6, 2021.

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