Research Project: Characterization of T cell and NK cell mediated immune response profiles in HIV infected Elite Controllers that are responsible for their spontaneous viral load control

Postdoc Year(s): 2013-2014

Dr. Isitman is an Australian researcher who moved to Canada in 2012. She has a unique research focus in cellular immunology and molecular biology, and in particular the development of HIV vaccines.

Her CTN-funded research project looked at Elite Controllers (ECs) – individuals that are living with HIV, but maintain a high CD4 cell count without taking antiretroviral medication. ECs have been the focus of much research due to as their ability to control HIV infection; an understanding of these control mechanisms can lead to the development of new HIV therapies or vaccines.

Dr. Isitman hopes her study will further contribute to this understanding, and advance her goal of becoming a “leading international figure in the field of vaccine development, specializing in antibody-based immunity”. Her ultimate goal is to “make a major contribution to the generation of an effective HIV vaccine.”

Dr. Isitman began her studies in Australia, earning her PhD in HIV Immunology in 2012 at the University of Melbourne. She then moved to Canada, to study as a Postdoctoral Scholar at McGill University’s Department of Science Health Centre in Montreal.