Plenary Sessions

Daily plenary sessions bring the entire conference together for invited talks on some of the most pressing issues facing the HIV prevention research field. Plenary sessions topics at HIVR4P 2018 include challenges in developing long-acting prevention and delivering combination prevention approaches, the latest scientific advances in understanding HIV transmission and emerging issues in prevention trial design. Opening and closing plenary sessions feature keynote addresses by leading prevention research and policy experts designed to set the stage for and help summarize key lessons from the HIVR4P conference.

Opening Plenary 01: Monday, 22 October

Planning for Success (and the Challenges Ahead) opens HIVR4P 2018 with a look at the major challenges facing the field as we convene, and a tribute to some of the researchers and advocates who are taking it forward and keeping us focused. Featuring:

Linda-Gail Bekker
University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Linda-Gail Bekker, MBChB, DTMH, DCH, FCP (SA), PhD, is Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, UCT and Chief Operating Officer of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. She is a physician scientist and infectious disease specialist. Her research interests include programmatic and action research around antiretroviral rollout and TB integration, prevention of HIV in women, youth and men who have sex with men. She is PI of the NIH (USA) funded UCTCTU and remains actively involved in the work of the 4 associated clinical research sites and 4 DAIDS networks. She has chaired protocols for the HVTN and HPTN and has been IoR in a number of network related protocols. She has served on numerous international and federal scientific and working committees. She heads up the Desmond Tutu Centre of Adolescent Health and Wellbeing at UCT, with the aim to develop best practices around adolescent treatment and prevention of HIV, TB and STIs and the integration of these services into an adolescent friendly sexual and reproductive service platform. She is the current President of the International AIDS Society (IAS), 2016-2018, and will serve as International Co-Chair at AIDS 2018, Amsterdam.

Sheena McCormack
MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, UK

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Professor Sheena McCormack is a Clinical Epidemiologist who works or has worked on HIV vaccine, microbicide and PrEP trials since 1994. She is a Senior Clinical Scientist at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, was awarded a Chair at Imperial College in 2012, and at University College London in 2017. Her clinical job is at 56 Dean Street which is a sexual health clinic in Soho.

She led the PROUD PrEP study conducted in MSM attending sexual health clinics in England, which reported early due to unexpectedly high incidence in those without access to PrEP and an 86% reduction in those with access to PrEP. Since then she has been focused on access for all who need PrEP in the UK and more broadly in Europe. She is currently involved in a large PrEP trial in England, an internet trial of self-testing, a therapeutic vaccine trial in Europe and a prophylactic vaccine trial in 4 countries in Sub Saharan Africa.


Anthony Fauci
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, US

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Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health. Since his appointment as NIAID director in 1984, Dr. Fauci has overseen an extensive research portfolio devoted to preventing, diagnosing and treating infectious and immune-mediated diseases. Dr. Fauci is also chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, where he has made numerous important discoveries related to HIV/AIDS and is one of the most-cited scientists in the field. Dr. Fauci serves as one of the key advisors to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues, and on initiatives to bolster medical and public health preparedness against emerging infectious disease threats such as Ebola and pandemic influenza. He was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has already been responsible for saving millions of lives throughout the developing world. Dr. Fauci received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College.

Dr. Fauci is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his scientific and global health accomplishments, including the National Medal of Science, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been awarded 43 honorary doctoral degrees and is the author, coauthor or editor of more than 1,280 scientific publications, including several major textbooks. 


And the presentation of HIVR4P 2018 Scholars, the Omololu Falobi Award for Excellence in HIV Prevention Research Community Advocacy and the Desmond Tutu Award for HIV Prevention Research and Human Rights.

Plenary 02: Tuesday, 23 October

What Happens First: Understanding Susceptibility, Transmission and Early Infection dives deep into the earliest moments of infection, when HIV enters the complex mucosal microenvironment, and looks at how untangling the mysteries of susceptibility and infection can lead to smarter, more targeted prevention approaches. Featuring:

Thomas Hope
Northwestern University, US

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Dr. Hope’s laboratory studies various aspects of HIV science taking a cell biology approach, and was one of the pioneers of this process. To facilitate this work, he has developed a series of novel tools and approaches allowing the direct visualization of virions and infected cells in tissue culture and live animal models. The centerpiece of his approach is microscopic imaging, which provides important information relating to context and dynamics of biological functions. Over the past 10 years, his group utilized these tools to study the interaction of HIV with the mucosal barriers exposed during sexual transmission. These studies, utilizing human tissue explant models and the vaginal challenge non-human primate models, have provided important insights into how HIV interacts with and penetrates apparently intact mucosal barriers to mediate sexual transmission. He has developed methods that allow identification of the location and phenotype of the initial targets of mucosal transmission and has leveraged these technologies to identify early foci of native viral replication. Using live cell microscopy, his group found that HIV moves on microtubules. Further, they were able to define the mechanism of the enhancement of infectivity by dendritic cells through an “infectious synapse”. Finally, they have revealed the dynamic nature of the interaction between HIV and TRIM5 alpha in the cytoplasm during restriction.


Thumbi Ndung’u
University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Thumbi Ndung’u is an Investigator and Max Planck Research Group Leader at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa. He is Professor and Victor Daitz Chair in HIV/TB Research and Director of the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal. He holds the South African Research Chair in Systems Biology of HIV/AIDS. He is an Adjunct Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is the Programme Director of the Sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence (SANTHE), a research and capacity building initiative funded by the Wellcome Trust. He graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences in Public Health from Harvard University, United States. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Virology at Harvard Medical School. He is on the advisory board of the Global Health and Vaccination Research Programme (GLOBVAC), The Research Council of Norway and is a member of the External Advisory Board of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN).

His research interests are host-pathogen interactions, particularly immune mechanisms of HIV and TB control. He has co-authored numerous manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. He has received grant funding from the South African National Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Wellcome Trust among others. He is leading a multidisciplinary team of researchers working in the fields of HIV and TB immunopathogenesis, vaccine development and immune-based HIV functional cure strategies. He has special interest in capacity building for biomedical research in Africa.


Sharon Achilles
University of Pittsburgh, US

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Sharon L. Achilles, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Achilles is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and completed fellowships in Family Planning and Reproductive Infectious Diseases. Her research interests are focused on understanding biological and immunological changes associated with contraceptive use and how these changes may impact HIV acquisition risk. She is also interested in development of dual use products to prevent both unplanned pregnancy and HIV.


Plenary 03: Wednesday, 24 October

The Future is Now: Next Steps in Developing New Prevention Options: Wednesday’s plenary answers the question, “What’s new in prevention?” with a look at systemic and topical agents in development, new approaches to vaccines and new methods of delivery that could transform the future of HIV prevention. Featuring:

Raphael Landovitz
UCLA Center for Clinical AIDS Research & Education, US

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Raphael J. Landovitz's clinical research career focuses on optimizing the use of HIV antiretroviral therapy for both HIV treatment and HIV prevention. He is currently Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA, Associate Director of the UCLA Center for Clinical AIDS Research & Education, and Co-Director of the UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services (CHIPTS). He is the protocol chair for the NIH/DAIDS funded Phase 2a and Phase 3 studies of long-acting injectable PrEP using cabotegravir (HPTN 077 and HPTN 083). He was awarded the John Carey Young Investigator Award by the AIDS Clinical Trials Group in 2010.

Craig Hendrix
Johns Hopkins University, US

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Craig Hendrix, MD is currently the Wellcome Professor and Director, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He trained in infectious diseases and clinical pharmacology at Johns Hopkins before a clinical research career in the US Air Force and, since 1997, at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Hendrix’s primary research focus is clinical pharmacology of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. Among other research projects, he’s involved as Principal Investigator or Project Leader in a variety of early phase PrEP program project grants. He also serves as director of the pharmacology group for the MTN and HPTN.


Rogier Sanders
Amsterdam Medical Center, Cornell University, Netherlands

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Rogier Sanders (1975) studied Medical Biology at the University of Amsterdam and the Rockefeller University in New York. In 2004 he obtained his PhD (cum laude) from the University from Amsterdam. Rogier currently is a Professor of Virology, specializing in Experimental Vaccinology at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam and holds an affiliate faculty position at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City where he spends part of his time. His research focuses on HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein vaccines, in particular those based on native-like (SOSIP) trimers, which he co-invented. He has received several prestigious grants such as the Veni and Vidi grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and a Starting Investigator grant from the European Research Council (ERC). He participates in various HIV research consortia funded by the EU, NIH/NIAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Rogier has (co-)authored more than 150 articles in scientific journals, including journals such as Nature, Science and Cell. His H-index is 43. In 2011, he received the Dutch Prize for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


Closing Plenary 04: Thursday, 25 October

Our closing plenary, Putting It Together: Strategies to End the Epidemic, looks ahead to the potential impact of implementing multiple prevention strategies, and challenges researchers and advocates from every community and prevention field to pool our knowledge, share our experiences and move forward together to help end the epidemic. The closing plenary presentations will be followed by an interactive panel discussion of the opportunities and challenges outlined by our speakers. Featuring:

Diane Havlir
University of California at San Francisco, US

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Diane Havlir, MD is Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco and Chief HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. She was a physician in training as an internal medicine resident when the AIDS epidemic emerged in the 1980s and has cared for HIV-infected patients ever since. She is a long standing NIH–funded researcher and has conducted patient–based research for over 25 years in HIV and antiretroviral treatment and HIV/TB that has led to change in national and WHO Guidelines for HIV treatment. She is currently leading SEARCH - a 320,000 person community randomized study of combination HIV prevention study in East Africa measuring the health, economic and education effects of HIV and multi-disease test and treat (diabetes, hypertension). Diane is also dedicated to the training of researchers, and is the principal investigator for NIH funded T32 for HIV translational research. She has received numerous awards for her research and mentoring. Professor Havlir is a founding member and leader of the San Francisco “Getting to Zero” city-wide HIV initiative to eliminate new HIV infections. Globally, she chairs the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS), was chair of the WHO HIV Drug Resistance Surveillance Program and is a member of the WHO Antiretroviral Guidelines Committee.


Maureen Luba
Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), Malawi

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Maureen Luba is an advocate for HIV prevention and treatment, and a passionate champion for young women’s health and rights. She has more than eight years of experience working on HIV prevention, treatment and care programming. Currently Maureen is working with CEDEP and MANET+ as a Project Coordinator for a joint advocacy project that aims at improving the participation of people living with HIV and key populations in the Global Fund, PEPFAR and other decision making processes in Malawi.
In 2015 she was one of the AVAC Advocacy Fellows and advocated for increased HIV prevention options for young women and girls in Malawi. Later in August 2015 she was named one of the Global Change women leaders by Coady International Institute Canada because of her efforts towards community development initiatives targeting young women and girls in Malawi.
In 2016 Maureen was named one of the winners of the Omololu Falobi Award due to her contribution toward HIV prevention research community advocacy.
Because of her passion for vaccine research advocacy, she joined the Vaccine Advocacy Resources Group (VARG) in 2015 where she currently serve as a member. The VARG brings together a global team of AIDS prevention research advocates who are passionate about HIV vaccine research advocacy. She also serve as one of the Core team members for Africa Free of New HIV Infections (AFHNI), an African-led network of HIV Prevention research advocates in Africa.
Besides that she also sit on the Board of International Partnership for Microbicides representing young African women. Since joining the Board she has been tirelessly fighting for the sexual and health rights of young women and girls from Africa.
Last but not least she is the founder of a community initiative Ascend, a mentorship program for adolescent girls and young women to help them stay in school as well as help them make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
Maureen holds a Bachelor of Social Science Degree in Public Administration from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College.


  Michael Meulbroek
BCN Checkpoint, Spain

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Michael Meulbroek was born in Amsterdam in 1959, and has lived in Barcelona, Spain, where he was diagnosed with HIV, since 1986. In 1993 he co-founded Projecte dels NOMS-Hispanosida, one of Spain’s most important HIV/AIDS community-based organizations, where he serve as the Chair. He is treatment counselor within a peer focused education program for people living with HIV.
Since its founding in 2006, the model created by Barcelona Checkpoint, a centre of community based research and HIV and STI detection for men who have sex with men, has been adopted in many European countries.
Its latest project, Barcelona PrEP·Point, is a community centre for information, research, control and uptake of PrEP.
Michael is also member of the European AIDS Treatment Group, community member of the INSIGHT Network and HIVACAT.


John Mascola
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, US

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John Mascola, MD. is Director of the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, U.S. National Institutes of Health. His background is in infectious diseases, viral immunology and vaccine research. His research focuses on antibody-mediated protective immune responses through studies of both the plasma antibody and B-cell compartments, including studies to understand the genetic and immunological characteristics that guide the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies against viral pathogens.


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