Featured article in Emory Report
By Catherine Morrow | Woodruff Healtah Sciences Center | January 19, 2021

The Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) at Emory University has announced the appointment of two new co-directors. Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics assumed the role of co-director for basic science and Colleen Kelley, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine assumed the role of co-director for prevention science, effective January 1, 2021.

To these positions, Chahroudi and Kelley bring content area expertise in innovative and translational HIV research that is built on multidisciplinary team science, proven leadership across the university, dedication to mentorship and furthering the next generation of HIV researchers, and highly successful track records in garnering and leading NIH-funded grants and clinical trials. Likewise, both have a long history and commitment to the CFAR, utilizing the Center’s pilot funding mechanism to help kick start impressive HIV research careers at Emory.

“My connection to the Emory CFAR runs deep, as my first research funding as a junior scientist was with the Center, and I am now paying it forward by mentoring a promising junior scientist in her research endeavors. I have been fortunate to live the life of a physician- scientist and, as a result, am well positioned to promote a research agenda for the Emory CFAR that is informed by the realities of the clinic and the possibilities of the bench,” says Chahroudi.

“In my tenure as a CFAR investigator at Emory, I have delightedly watched and contributed to the rapid growth and expansion of the HIV research portfolio in basic science, clinical, public health and all stages of translational research. I am honored to lead the Emory CFAR to continue this growth, but also to innovate new CFAR programs and processes that will ultimately result in improved outcomes for those living with HIV and prevention of new HIV infections,” says Kelley.

Chahroudi has over fifteen years direct involvement in clinical care and research studies focused on viral pathogenesis, transmission, and HIV cure. Her training in immunology, virology and infectious diseases has provided a strong foundation for her current roles as associate division chief for Basic/Translational Research in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Emory School of Medicine, medical director of the pediatric and adolescent HIV clinic of Grady Health System, and director of the Center for Childhood Infections and Vaccines (CCIV) of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University. Her NIH-funded research program aims to discover mechanisms of HIV persistence and test translational cure-directed strategies in nonhuman primate (NHP) models. These investigations have led to significant contributions to the field, including collaborative discoveries of latency reversal described in back-to-back Nature articles in 2020. Chahroudi’s laboratory also has developed a pediatric model of HIV infection to interrogate viral pathogenesis and persistence in infant NHPs to pave the way for novel cure approaches in children.

Kelley has a multidisciplinary background in clinical HIV/STI medicine, HIV/STI epidemiology and clinical outcomes research and laboratory-based research. She practices HIV medicine at the Grady Infectious Disease Program, one of the largest HIV clinics in the Southeast. The primary focus of her laboratory research (based at the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center) is mucosal HIV susceptibility in sexual and gender minority populations with a particular interest in biomedical prevention interventions. Kelley also leads HIV prevention clinical trials for both the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) and the HIV Vaccines Trials Network (HVTN) at the Hope Clinic. She recently expanded her research portfolio in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, now leading the Moderna and Novavax COVID vaccine efficacy trials at the Ponce de Leon Clinical Research Site located at Grady. Kelley previously served as associate director for the Emory CFAR Clinical Research Core where she provided oversight to human subject projects and the Core’s HIV specimen repository.

Chahroudi and Kelley join Carlos del Rio, MD, distinguished professor of medicine, epidemiology and global health and executive associate dean for Emory School of Medicine at Grady Health System, who will remain co-director for clinical science and the CFAR contact PI, in these lead administrative roles. The CFAR leadership team will continue to include as emeritus directors Eric Hunter, PhD, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and James W. Curran, MD, MPH, the James W. Curran Dean of the Rollins School of Public Health. Hunter, former co-director for basic science, and Curran, former co-director for prevention science, will provide mentorship, content area expertise and administrative continuity for the grant.

Both appointments are the result of a multi-year strategic planning and vetting process that began in 2018 and culminated with the CFAR Executive Advisory Council’s recent approval of the change.

For over two decades, the CFAR at Emory has moved forward groundbreaking basic, clinical, and social/behavioral science to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic locally and globally, significantly elevating Emory University’s position as a leader in the field. With this new wave of dynamic leadership, CFAR at Emory University will continue its momentous

Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD
Co-Director for Basic Science

Colleen Kelley, MD, MPH
Co-Director for Prevention Science