Dr. George Pavlakis
Principal Investigator, Human Retrovirus Section, Vaccine Branch
Dr. Pavlakis received his MD from the National University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece and his PhD from the Department of Biology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. His lab studies the immune response to HIV and methods to develop vaccines and immunotherapies for conditions such as AIDS and cancer. Dr. Pavlakis is credited with the first production of mature human hormones in mammalian cells by recombinant DNA technologies. This methodology is still in commercial production. He continues this work by the development of new production methods and clinical application of hetIL-15, a cytokine essential for NK and T lymphocyte development and function. Dr. Pavlakis co-developed codon/RNA optimization methods that have found wide applications in biotechnology, gene therapy protocols and DNA vaccines. He developed DNA vaccines for HIV and showed they provide strong and long lasting immunity. He developed strong fluorescent GFP mutants that are in wide use in biology. He studied the molecular biology and genetic organization of HIV and discovered important functions of its regulatory factors Tat and Rev. He described the first transcriptional activator on oncoretroviruses, the Tax protein of HTLV-I and the first posttranscriptional regulatory factor, Rev, which controls mRNA export from the nucleus. This work is described in more than 200 publications and 50 patents. He is a highly cited researcher according to ISI. Dr. Pavlakis is a member of many professional societies including ASCI and AAP.