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Ivona Pandrea, MD, PhD

Dr. Ivona Pandrea


9045 Biomedical Science Tower 3
3501 Fifth Avenue


MD, "Gr. T. Popa" School of Medicine of Iasi (Romania)

PhD, "Gr. T. Popa" School of Medicine of Iasi (Romania)

Academic Affiliation(s)

Professor, Department of Pathology

Member, Center for Vaccine Research

Member, Molecular Virology and Microbiology Graduate Program


Our work is aimed at understanding why, despite a high prevalence of SIV infection, the African nonhuman primates generally do not progress to AIDS. We are particularly interested to understand how these nonhuman primate species are able to maintain normal levels of immune activation during SIV infection. We believe that the low levels of immune activation and apoptosis allow mucosal CD4 T cell recovery and lack of disease progression in the natural hosts, in spite of continuous high levles viral replication. Our major research directions are therefore aimed to: (i) study of the correlations between the low levels of CCR5 expression on the mucosal CD4+ T cells and the low levels of immune activation and mucosal SIV transmission (particularly through breastfeeding) in the natural hosts; (ii) understanding the role of the interaction between dendritic cells and T regulatory cells in maintaining low levels of immune activation in the nonprogressive hosts; (iii) investigating how microbial translocation impact immune activation and other systemic lesions in progressive and nonprogressive hosts; and (iv) testing new avenues to prevent the intestinal barrier damage or the damage induced by the proinflammatory cytokines released during the HIV infection. Our final goal is to identify new immunotherapeutic strategies that, in association to antiretroviral drugs, may ultimately transform HIV-1 infection into a nonprogressive infection with an incubation period that exceeds the human lifespan, similar to SIV infection in natural hosts.

Lab Personnel

Shulin Qin, PhD - Research Associate
George Haret-Richter - Postdoctoral Fellow
Cui-Ling Xu - Research Technician IV
Laura Catchpole - Research Technician III

Areas of Interest

SIV pathogenesis in natural hosts (i.e., African green monkeys); Animal models for a cure; Animal modeling of comorbidities associated with HIV/SIV infection


Pandrea I, Parrish N. F, Raehtz K, Gaufin T, Barbian H. J, Ma D, Kristoff J, Gautam R, Zhong F, Haret-Richter G. S, Trichel A, Shaw G. M, Hahn B. H, and Apetrei C. Mucosal simian immunodeficiency virus transmission in African green monkeys: susceptibility to infection is proportional to target cell availability at mucosal sites. J Virol. 86: 4158-4168. |  View Abstract

Pandrea I, Cornell E, Wilson C, Ribeiro R. M, Ma D, Kristoff J, Xu C, Haret-Richter G. S, Triche, A, Apetrei C, Landay A, and Tracy R. Coagulation biomarkers predict disease progression in SIV-infected nonhuman primates. Blood. 120: 1257-1366. |  View Abstract

Fischer W, Apetrei C, Santiago M. L, Li Y, Gautam R, Pandrea I, Shaw G. M, Hahn B. H, Letvin N. L, Nabel G. J, and Korber B. T. Distinct Evolutionary Pressures Underlie Diversity in Simian and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Lineages. J Virol. [Epub ahead of print 10/12/12] |  View Abstract

Apetrei C, Pandrea I, and Mellors J. W. Nonhuman Primate Models for HIV Cure Research. PLoS Pathog. 8: e1002892. |  View Abstract

Pandrea I, Gaufin T, Gautam R, Kristoff J. Mandell D,Montefiori D, Keele B. F, Ribeiro R. M, Veazey R. S, and Apetrei C. Functional cure of SIVagm infection in rhesus macaques results in complete recovery of CD4+ T cells and is reverted by CD8+ cell depletion. PLoS Pathog. 7: e1002170. |  View Abstract

Gnanadurai C. W, Pandrea I, Parrish N. F, Kraus M. H, Learn G. H, Salazar M. G, Sauermann U, Topfer K, Gautam R, Munch J, Stahl-Hennig C, Apetrei C, Hahn B. H, and Kirchhoff F. Genetic identity and biological phenotype of a transmitted/founder virus representative of nonpathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus infection in African green monkeys. J Virol. 84: 12245-12254. |  View Abstract

Apetrei C, Gaufin T, Gautam R, Vinton C, Hirsch V, Lewis M, Brenchley J, Pandrea I. Pattern of SIVagm infection in patas monkeys suggests that host adaptation to simian immunodeficiency virus infection may result in resistance to infection and virus extinction. J Infect Dis. 202 Suppl 3: S371-S376. |  View Abstract