Ann Jones Hessell, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Oregon National Primate Research Center


Dr. Ann Hessell is a Research Associate Professor at Oregon Health & Science University and a faculty member within the Pathobiology Division at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. She earned a B.S. in Molecular Biology at the University of California, San Diego and a Ph.D. at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Before coming to OHSU in 2010, Dr. Hessell trained at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. At Scripps, she studied broadly neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) isolated from natural HIV infection and led several studies in nonhuman primates (NHP) that have contributed crucial information in defining antibody protection. Based on this work, she published a series of papers demonstrating that NAbs, if present before virus exposure, can block infection. One of these publications is considered seminal in the field, confirming that Fc receptor binding of antibodies is a requirement for optimal protection against HIV infection. 

At OHSU, Ann has continued her interest in antibody-mediated protection from HIV infection and she has led several studies using active and passive immunization in NHP models, including using NAbs as immunotherapy in an infant macaque model of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV. The study published this year, pioneered the finding that NAbs, when present during early infection, can clear infected cells from tissues harboring active virus, a significant advancement in understanding HIV immunobiology. This study and subsequent ongoing experiments are expanding the awareness of the potential for antibody interruption of virus seeding before latent reservoirs can be established and represent important strides towards a full understanding of the mechanism of antibody-mediated protection and the beneficial roles for NAbs beyond direct protection. 

HIV vaccine development is the core theme of Dr. Hessell’s research. NAbs that develop in HIV infection target the surface glycoprotein coating the virus surface, termed Envelope (Env), the primary focus of vaccine discovery efforts. She has led several vaccine studies while at OHSU that are based on using natural Env as an immunogen to understand the dynamics of NAb development in NHP models. 

Dr. Hessell’s OHSU studies have led to new investigations of the immune repertoire of vaccinated macaques using single B-cell sorting techniques and subsequent cloning of monoclonal antibodies for further characterization. Most anti-viral vaccines induce B cell responses (antibodies) to provide protection against infection and disease. By examining populations of memory B cells in vaccinated macaques, Dr. Hessell’s laboratory seeks to identify individual Env-specific B cells and to uncover antibody specificities elicited by immunization that may provide signatures of a protective antibody response elicited by a given vaccine candidate.

Education and training

    • B.S., 1996, University of California, San Diego
    • B.S., 1996, University of California, San Diego
    • Ph.D., 2009, Utrecht University
    • Ph.D., 2009, Utrecht University, School of Medicine

Memberships and associations:

  • Advisory Board Member: (2012 – present). Consultant for the non-profit corporation, Dedicated to Learning, Inc. in the areas of higher education and science.
  • 2011-present Editorial Board, Frontiers in HIV and AIDS

Areas of interest

  • HIV-1 vaccine development
  • Neutralizing antibodies against HIV-1
  • Immunotherapy strategies with neutralizing antibodies
  • Prevention of Mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1
  • Development of neutralizing antibodies in HIV-1 infection
  • Monoclonal antibody cloning and characterization

Honors and awards

  • Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society


Selected publications

  • Hessell AJ, Jaworski JP, Epson E, Matsuda K, Pandey S, Kahl C, Reed J, Sutton WF, Hammond KB, Cheever TA, Barnette PT, Legasse AW, Planer S, Stanton JJ, Pegu A, Chen X, Wang K, Siess D, Burke D, Park BS, Axthelm MK, Lewis A, Hirsch VM, Graham BS, Mascola JR, Sacha JB, Haigwood NL. Early short-term treatment with neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies halts SHIV infection in newborn macaques. Nature Medicine 2016, 22(4): 362-8. PMC4983100.
  • Hessell AJ, Poignard P, Hunter M, Hangartner L, Tehrani DM, Bleeker WK, Parren PW, Marx PA, and Burton DR. Effective, Low Titer, Antibody Protection Against Low-Dose Repeated Mucosal SHIV Challenge in Macaques. Nature Medicine 2009, 15(8): 951-4. PMCID: PC4334439.
  • Hessell AJ, Hangartner L, Hunter M, Havenith CEG, Beurskens FJ, Bakker JM, Lanigan C, Landucci G, Forthal DN, Parren PW, Marx PA, and Burton DR. Fc receptor but not complement binding is important in antibody protection against HIV. Nature 2007, 449:101-4. PMID: 17805298.
  • Hessell AJ, Malherbe DC, Pisanni F, McBurney S, Krebs SJ, Gomes M, Pandey S, Sutton WF, Burwitz B, Gray M, Robins H, Park B, Sacha JB, LaBranche CC, Fuller DH, Montefiori D, Sather DN, Stamatatos L, Haigwood NL. Achieving potent autologous neutralizing antibody responses against Tier 2 HIV-1 viruses by strategic selection of Envelope immunogens. The Journal of Immunology 2016, 196(7): 3064-3078.  PMCID: PMC4797725.
  • Hessell AJ, McBurney S, Pandey S, Sutton W, Liu L, Li L, Totrov M, Zolla-Pazner S, Haigwood NL, Gorny MK. Induction of neutralizing antibodies in rhesus macaques using V3 mimotope peptides. Vaccine 2016, 34:2713-2721. PMID: 27102818 
  • Hessell AJ, Shapiro MB, Powell R, Malherbe DC, McBurney SP, Pandey S, Cheever T, Sutton WF, Kahl C, Park B, Zolla-Pazner S, Haigwood NL. Reduced cell-associated DNA and improved viral control in macaques following passive transfer of a single anti-V2 monoclonal antibody and repeated SHIV challenges. Journal of Virology 2018, 2018 Mar 7. pii: JVI.02198-17. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02198-17. [Epub ahead of print]. PMCID: PMC5952134
  • Hessell AJ, Malherbe DC, Haigwood NL. Passive and active antibody studies in primates to inform HIV vaccines. Expert Rev Vaccines 2018, 17(2):127-144.


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