Dr. Shen is an Associate Director and Deputy of the Laboratory for HIV and COVID-19 Vaccine Research & Development in the Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Sciences at Duke University Medical Center. Her research interest focuses on the humoral immune response following virus infection or vaccination. During the past decade, she has worked intensively on the specificity and breadth of binding antibody responses against HIV.
Dr. Shen’s team developed assays and analytical tools for a peptide microarray assay for finely mapping of HIV-1 cross-subtype linear epitopes targeted by antibody responses in human specimens as well as animal models, and adopted a multiplex binding antibody assay for evaluating binding antibody responses. With these technologies, her team evaluated various clinical HIV-1 vaccine studies and NHP studies. Building upon the data generated by her team and other collaborators, Dr. Shen works with bioinformatics and biostatistics personnel on deciphering immune correlates in both human clinical trials and nonhuman primate studies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, her team expanded their research to SARS-COV-2 antibody responses.
In 2021, Dr. Shen became the Deputy Director of the Laboratory for HIV and COVID-19 Vaccine Research & Development, alongside Laboratory Director Dr. Montefiori. The laboratory established a lentivirus-based pseudovirus SARS-CoV-2 neutralization assay that has been FDA-approved. The laboratory is assessing neutralizing antibody responses for multiple phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials. In addition to supporting clinical trials, the lab has a strong focus on characterizing SARS-CoV-2 variants for their neutralizing susceptibility and potential to escape from vaccine-elicited immune responses.
Meanwhile, Dr. Shen’s team remains highly active in HIV-1 vaccine research, evaluating neutralizing responses in preclinical and clinical HIV vaccine trials as a core laboratory for multiple networks including the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the NIH Nonhuman Primate Core Humoral Immunology Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine which Dr. Shen directs.