HIV Research in 2020 - An Interview with Dr. April Randhawa, Infectious Disease Biologist

Interview Conducted by India Stevenson

(Below information provided courtesy of Dr. April Randhawa)

Hello, my name is India Stevenson and I am the Community Outreach Chair of Bridging Medicine at Emory. I am interviewing Dr. April Randhawa, who is an Infectious Disease Biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Today we will have a chance to discuss Dr. Randhawa's prolific biology research, as well as her reflections on how COVID-19 has affected her current work. Should you encounter any technology issues while viewing the above video on our website, we have also provided a YouTube link to our video interview here.

We are immensely grateful to Dr. Randhawa for taking the time to speak with us. She has also been gracious enough to provide more details regarding her research profile below.

Dr. April Randhawa's Research Profile:

My research career has been dedicated to understanding the immune response to globally important pathogens that cause human diseases such as Tuberculosis (TB), HIV and, more recently, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), with a special interest in biomedical prevention strategies – primarily vaccines.

After completing my B.Sc. in Microbiology at the University of Oklahoma, I went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Experimental Medicine at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. My doctoral thesis project involved characterizing the role of CD43, a cell surface receptor, in the in vitro and in vivo growth and pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB). My postdoctoral research at the University of Washington involved investigating the role of common genetic variation in the innate immune response to mycobacterial infections and BCG vaccination.

As a faculty member in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at Fred Hutch, and Associate Director of Laboratory Data Science for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Statistical and Data Management Center, I have been involved in the design and implementation of over 30 HIV, TB, and Ebola vaccine clinical trials. I have also had opportunities to work on pre-clinical HIV vaccine studies and vaccines for other diseases (Polio, Malaria, Dengue) as part of the Vaccine Immunology Statistical Center, the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), and the Global Health Vaccine Accelerator Platform (GH-VAP).

When the novel Coronavirus emerged in early 2020, much of my research focus shifted towards characterizing the local epidemic and evaluating SARS-CoV-2 detection and diagnostic methods. As part of the newly formed Coronavirus Prevention Network (CoVPN), I have been involved in the design and execution of observational studies to characterize the natural history of COVID-19, and the evaluation of several vaccine candidates that are being tested in clinical trials around the world.

In addition to research, my interests include cooking, vegetable gardening, traveling, activism, and spending time with my family.  You can find me on Twitter @aprilkaurphd.

Recent Publications:

Randhawa AK, Fisher LH, Greninger AL, et al. Changes in SARS-CoV-2 Positivity Rate in Outpatients in Seattle and Washington State, March 1–April 16, 2020. JAMA. 2020;323(22):2334–2336. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.8097

Bekker L, Dintwe O, Fiore-Gartland A, Middelkoop K, Hutter J, Williams A, Randhawa A, et al. A phase 1b randomized study of the safety and immunological responses to vaccination with H4:IC31, H56:IC31, and BCG revaccination in Mycobacterium tuberculosis-uninfected adolescents in Cape Town, South Africa. EClinicalMedicine. 2020/04; 21:100313. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100313

Gray GE, Huang Y, Grunenberg N, Laher F, Roux S, Andersen-Nissen E, De Rosa SC, Flach B, Randhawa AK, et al. Immune correlates of the Thai RV144 HIV vaccine regimen in South Africa. Sci Transl Med. 2019 Sep 18;11(510). doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aax1880      

Full bibliography at:

Links for Organizations and Studies Discussed in the Interview:

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