Immunologist Melissa Robbiani leads studies on basic HIV biology and HIV prevention at the Population Council’s Center for Biomedical Research. Her work focuses on developing a better understanding of dendritic cells, key components of the immune system that also play a major role in HIV infection, and on testing products designed to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV.
Robbiani joined the Council in 2001. Since 2007, she has served as the Council’s director of biomedical HIV research.
Previously, she conducted research at The Rockefeller University, where she worked with Nobel prize recipient Ralph M. Steinman, who discovered the dendritic cell and its role in immunity. Their pioneering research helped define the role of dendritic cells in HIV infection and deepened understanding of the mechanism of sexual transmission of HIV.
Robbiani serves on research planning groups and review committees for the National Institutes of Health, the editorial board of Journal of AIDS, and is a peer reviewer for many other journals, including Journal of Immunology, Journal of Virology, Nature Reviews Immunology, Nature Medicine, PLOS Biology, PLOS ONE, PLOS Pathogens, and Science. She is a member of The Harvey Society, American Society for Microbiology, New York Academy of Sciences, American Association of Immunologists, Society of Leukocyte Biology, and International Society of Dendritic Cell and Vaccine Science.
Robbiani has received numerous awards for her research from organizations such as amfAR, the National Institutes of Health, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Irma T. Hirschl Trust, the Campbell Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She is the author of several book chapters and more than one hundred scientific articles.
Robbiani earned her PhD in microbiology/immunology from the University of Adelaide in Australia.