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Vijayakumar Velu, PhD

Assistant Professor
Emory National Primate Research Center

Phone: 404-727-1315



Vijayakumar Velu, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Emory National Primate Research Center, Emory University.

Dr. Velu completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Madras. Under the guidance of Dr. S.P. Thyagarajan for his doctoral studies, Dr. Velu focused on viral hepatitis, particularly on HIV/HBV/HCV co-infection. He demonstrated that confection’s of viral hepatitis in HIV infected individuals is a major problem in India. He developed Hepatitis B vaccination strategies to improve HBV-immunity in HIV and HCV co-infected patients by conducting various clinical trials on a newly developed Hepatitis B vaccine from India.

Dr. Velu completed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Rama Rao Amara at the Emory Primate Center. During his postdoctoral training, Dr. Velu conducted studies that focused on the development of therapeutic strategies to enhance immune response during chronic SIV/HIV infection. In collaboration with Dr. Amara and Dr. Rafi Ahmed, Director of the Emory Vaccine Center, Dr. Velu identified a novel therapeutic approach for the control of HIV infection by demonstrating that blockade of a single inhibitory pathway (PD-1) results in enhancement of both cellular and humoral immune responses that lead to decreased viral levels and enhanced survival of a pathogenic SIV infection.

Dr. Velu’s current research interest and long-term goal is to understand the basic biology of anti-viral T and B cell interactions for generating effective cellular and humoral immune response after vaccination and following HIV/SIV infection. He believes better understanding the roles of cellular mechanisms involved in generating effective immune responses are needed to develop new and better vaccines/therapeutics against deadly disease such as HIV/AIDS.