Akiko Iwasaki is an immunologist recognized for her work on immune response to viral infections. She is particularly known for her work in innate immune recognition of viruses, and elucidating adaptive immune response mechanisms at mucosal surfaces. Iwasaki was born in Iga, Japan, and grew up in Kansai area until she moved to Toronto to obtain B. S. in Biochemistry and Physics in 1994. Iwasaki received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1998 in Immunology, and her postdoctoral training from the National Institutes of Health (1998-2000). She joined the faculty at Yale University in 2000, and currently is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a Professor of Department of Immunobiology, and of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology.

Research Interests

Akiko Iwasaki is interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of innate virus recognition and in elucidating innate signals that lead to the generation of protective immunity. Understanding how to generate memory lymphocytes at the site of infection that protect the host against viral infections provides key clues to designing effective vaccines. Iwasaki's research suggested that successful vaccines against sexually transmitted viruses must establish a local memory T cell pool. To this end, her team has developed a new vaccine approach, called "prime and pull," in which immune system can be manipulated to establish protective tissue-resident memory T cells in a safe and effective manner. Iwasaki continues to leverage her understanding of the natural immune responses for the design of effective vaccines against mucosally transmitted viral pathogens.

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Primary Section

Section 43: Immunology and Inflammation

Secondary Section

Section 44: Microbial Biology