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Immunology Core

Duke CFAR Immunology Core

The Immunology Core provides Duke HIV/AIDS scientists, clinicians, collaborators, and trainees access to an innovative, state-of-the-art, and standardized repertoire of immunologic assays that can comprehensively and deeply interrogate the immunologic space in response to HIV-1 infection, vaccination, co-infections, and cure strategies.

The Core brings together a team of investigators with extensive expertise in HIV/AIDS innate, humoral and cellular immunology, virology, quality assurance, and scientific training to meet the in-country and international research needs of Duke HIV/AIDS scientists, clinicians, collaborators, and trainees. The Immunology Core fills critical gaps in the HIV/AIDS field by providing innovative, state-of-the-art, and standardized immunologic assays to comprehensively investigate the immune space relevant in HIV infection, vaccination, co-infection, prevention, immune prophylaxis, and HIV-1 Cure studies. The investigators comprising the Immunology Core have demonstrated sustained contributions in HIV/AIDS research and have a strong history of working collaboratively, serving many national and international HIV-related basic science research and immune monitoring of clinical trial efforts. Brought together in a single Core built upon decades of immunology and HIV/AIDS expertise, this team continues to be uniquely poised to tackle emerging needs in the field of HIV/AIDS-related immunology.

Duke CFAR's Immunology Core encompasses the following labs:

Central Quality Assurance Unit (CQAU) Cellular Cytotoxicity Laboratory (Ferrari)
Binding Antibody Component (Tomaras) Neutralizing Antibody Assays (Montefiori)
Immunology Core group email:
Flow Cytometry  


Core Leadership

Georgia Tomaras, PhD, Core Director

Dr. Tomaras is Professor with tenure in the Departments of Surgery, Immunology and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. As Core Director, Dr. Tomaras has primary responsibility for the overall operation of the Core. She has over 20 years of research experience examining immune responses to using high-throughput, sensitive Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP)-compliant and validated methods. Dr. Tomaras is internationally known for defining HIV-1 antibody correlates of risk, initial HIV-1 antibody specificities systemically and mucosally during acute HIV-1 infection, and development of high-throughput antibody technologies to interrogate the breadth, subclass, isotype and function of HIV-1-specific antibodies and cellular antiviral functions. Dr. Tomaras leads the Binding Antibody Component of the Immunology Core, which provides binding and avidity assays, peptide microarray, antibody pharmacokinetic assays, and Fc-mediated antibody effector functions assays including phagocytosis and virion capture.  

David Murdoch, MD, Core Co-Director

Dr. Murdoch is Associate Professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine. He oversees scientific training and consultation of flow-based phenotypic and functional analysis. Dr. Murdoch is widely recognized for his assay innovation involving polychromatic flow cytometry (PFC) panel design and single cell immunological methods for polyfunctional and phenotypic characterization of T cell subsets and T regulatory phenotyping in HIV infection and opportunistic co-infection, and he provides vision for advancing the core technologies. He studies the immunopathogenesis of the HIV-associated immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) in co-infected patients in sub-Saharan Africa, helped define the first standardized clinical and immunological definition of IRIS, and examines the impact of chronic inflammation on end organ function in the immunocompromised host. As a pulmonologist with a keen interest in compartmental immune responses, he currently leads projects aimed at determining the impact of drugs of abuse on pulmonary and cognitive function in HIV patients. He has developed new technologies, including high-dimensional flow cytometry and novel sorting and fluidic-based techniques for single cell analyses.

M. Anthony Moody, MD, Core Associate Director

Dr. Moody is Associate Professor with Tenure in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics and Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology. He will oversee scientific training and consultation of cell sorting experiments for the Core. He is the Director of the Laboratory of B Cell Immunotechnology of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI), and the PI of the Duke Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs) Vaccine Discovery Program. Dr. Moody is an expert in techniques that quantitate and isolate antigen-specific B cells, resulting in the characterization of B cells and the isolation of antibodies from HIV-1-infected persons and HIV-1 vaccinees. Dr. Moody’s laboratory has performed >450 single-cell sorting experiments to characterize and isolate B cells from HIV-1-infected persons and from vaccine recipients, resulting in the isolation of >20,000 monoclonal antibodies, with crucial scientific contributions to the B Cell Focus group as part of the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID). With over 20 years of expertise in flow cytometry and its applications, Dr. Moody is a Scientific Advisor to the DHVI flow cytometry facility, and his laboratory routinely trains new investigators in the performance of polychromatic flow cytometry and data analysis.

David Montefiori, PhD, Core Associate Director
Dr. Montefiori is Professor in the Department of Surgery and oversees the Neutralizing Antibody Component of the Immunology Core. Dr. Montefiori is internationally known for the development of standardized neutralization assays, reagent panels, and analytical methods that are the gold standard for assessing virus neutralization. He is a leading expert in viral immunology and HIV vaccine development, with an emphasis on neutralizing antibodies. His research includes HIV-infected individuals as well as nonhuman primate models of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) infection. Dr. Montefiori directs a large vaccine immune monitoring program, which operates in GCLP compliance, and has served as a national and international resource for standardized assessments of neutralizing antibody responses in preclinical and clinical trials of candidate AIDS vaccines since 1988. He currently directs a large Comprehensive Antibody Vaccine Immune Monitoring Consortium (CAVIMC) as part of the BMGF Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) and is a lead investigator of the Duke HVTN lab, the NIH Preclinical HIV-1 Vaccine Program, and CHAVD. He has published over 600 original research papers that have helped shape the scientific rationale for antibody-based HIV vaccines.

Guido Ferrari, MD, Core Associate Director

Dr. Ferrari is Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. He oversees the Cellular Cytotoxicity Component of the Immunology Core, which provides antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), ELISpot and infected cell binding antibody assays (ICABA). Dr. Ferrari is internationally known for his key insights into CD8+ T cell function and FcR-mediated antibody function, as well as his unparalleled commitment to international training in immunological techniques. Dr. Ferrari provided the first evidence for cross-clade CD8+ CTL reactivities induced by candidate AIDS vaccines, in collaboration with Dr. Weinhold. He also characterized the differences in class I-restricted epitope recognition between HIV-1-infected individuals and vaccine recipient and reported the anti-C1 epitope as the most recognized epitope by ADCC Ab responses in infected individuals. Dr. Ferrari has developed and standardized assays to probe innate and adaptive immune responses and has been a key investigator of the ADCC core laboratory for the CAVIMC, the primate AIDS vaccine evaluation group (PAVEG), and the HVTN.

Marcella Sarzotti-Kelsoe, PhD, Director, QADVIP

Dr. Sarzotti-Kelsoe, Professor in the Department of Immunology and Associate Professor in Surgery at Duke, directs the Quality Assurance for Duke Vaccine Immunogenicity Programs (QADVIP) as the Central Quality Assurance Unit (CQAU) of the CFAR Immunology Core. Dr. Sarzotti-Kelsoe is an international expert in implementation and training on QA and QC measurements for laboratory-based studies. Over the past two decades, she has played a leading role in the creation and implementation of a Global Quality Program within the Duke academic environment. As Director of the QADVIP, she oversees compliance with GCLP guidelines by multiple national and international laboratories participating in clinical trial networks for HIV, SARS-CoV-2, Influenza and Malaria vaccines. She also supports the quality design of clinical decision-support tools for civilian and military wounded populations.