About us

The Hansen laboratory focuses on the use of novel CMV-based vaccine vectors to elicit effector memory pathogen-specific T-cell responses to intercept nascent infections before productive infections can be established. CMV is an attractive vaccine vector because it can elicit broad and robust immune responses involving both humoral and cellular immunity. We have established that these vectors can elicit and maintain circulating and tissue-resident CD4+/CD8+ effector-differentiated T cells to any exogenous antigen (Ag) insert. The CMV-based vaccine vector therefore represents a promising approach to develop novel prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines against some epidemic pathogens and tumors.

We are focused on designing and testing CMV vectors with genetically engineered restrictions in replication and dissemination/spread, with the goal of developing the safest CMV vectors with the greatest immunogenicity and protective capacity. The success of CMV vectors in protecting against highly virulent Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) has put CMV-vectored vaccines at the forefront of AIDS vaccine development and has led to the CMV vaccine on the NIH list of the “most promising medical advance of 2013.” The Hansen lab works in collaboration with many other scientists outside and across the VGTI (Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute) using the CMV vector platform against a variety of diseases in both human and non-human primate (NHP) models. These diseases include HIV/SIV, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb.), malaria, Kaposi’s sarcoma, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, hepatitis, and COVID-19.