James B. Whitney | Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Associate Member, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard

Investigator, National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory

Dr. James Whitney's expertise is in molecular virology, reservoir dynamics, and pre-clinical development. He has established primate models to examine both sexual transmission and SIV persistence on intensified antiretroviral therapy.

So-Yon Lim | Instructor

So-Yon's work focuses on novel strategies to eradicate latent HIV-1 reservoirs that build on “shock and kill” approaches using potent viral latency reversing agents (TLR7 agonists). She received her B.S. from Ewha Women’s University, Korea and her MA and Ph.D. from Indiana State University under Dr. Swapan Ghosh’s mentorship, respectively. Her research interests also include host genetics conferring resistance or susceptibility to HIV infection and its contribution to the eradication of latent HIV. In addition to the research described above, she is actively involved in developing a monkey model for Zika virus infection and therapeutics.

Daniela Silva-Ayala Postdoctoral Fellow

Daniela is interested in developing new therapeutic approaches to fighting viral infectious diseases that affect human health worldwide, such as Lentivirus and Flavivirus infections.  As a virologist, she is eager to investigate the molecular mechanisms employed by different viruses to infect, spread, and uphold latency in their host; a detail understanding on these viral strategies will lead to a deep comprehension of the pathogenesis of such viral infections. One of her research goals is to combine basic knowledge on viral infection dynamics with state-of-the-art genetic engineering tools, to develop novel and better-designed therapies able to disrupt these systemic viral hijackings.

Jina Lee Postdoctoral Fellow

Jina received her DVM and PhD in at the Chonnam National University in South Korea where she studied host immune regulation by Salmonella Typhimurium and PRRSV infection, as well as the in-vivo activity of nanoparticle-based adjuvant platform against PRRSV/PCV infection. Before joining Dr. Whitney’s lab, she conducted research on cancer immunotherapy at Mass General Hospital, specially focused on the therapeutic impacts of epigenetic modulation in combination with classical immune checkpoint inhibitors. Currently, she is primarily focused on understanding T cell memory differentiation during SIV/HIV infection and how it responds to various clinical interventions. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, seeing live music, dancing salsa and exploring Boston.

Pratik Vikhe Postdoctoral Fellow

Pratik is interested in understanding the immune pathology response against infections in order to develop an effective/ novel treatment against these diseases. His background is in cellular microbiology focusing on host-microbe interaction and he has developed a cellular and molecular immune-phenotyping pipeline for upper respiratory tract inflammation and infection models.

Elsa Chen Lab Manager

Elsa joined the Whitney Lab in 2016. She has a B.S .in Biology and received her M.S. in Regulatory Affairs from Northeastern University. Her main responsibilities as lab manager includes maintaining day-to-day functions of the lab, coordinating schedules and test procedures, developing and maintaining laboratory guidance and in-house protocols, and carrying out various lab procedures according to study requirements.

Margaret Eliot | Research Technician II

Margaret graduated in 2017 from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in Chemistry. She joined the lab in June of 2018. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, live music, and running outdoors.

Microscope in Laboratory


at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research

3 Blackfan Circle, E/CLS 10th floor
Boston, MA 02115

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