Dr. Pietro Pala

Senior Immunologist
Pietro.Pala@mrcuganda.org

Dr. Pietro Pala was born in Sardinia and qualified as an M.D. in 1980 at the Università degli Studi di Sassari. He then worked on the T-cell response to influenza virus at the National Institute for Medical Research, London in the Askonas lab and continued his immunology research at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Epalinges, Switzerland describing specificity and competition among peptide epitopes recognized by class I restricted T cells.

He later worked in the vaccine industry in Rixensart, Belgium, and is a co-inventor of new adjuvant formulations that stimulate T cell responses. After ten years at Imperial College London studying the T cell response to respiratory syncytial virus and its connection with asthma and atopy, Dr. Pala joined the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS in 2007 and is now applying his tentative understanding of the workings of the immune system to HIV related questions: why is there no natural immune mediated clearance of HIV infections? Why don’t some people become infected despite exposure to HIV? Why do some people acquire superinfections while they have apparently strong immune responses to an initial HIV infection and what are the implications for the worldwide drive to develop a safe and effective vaccine against HIV? How do previous or concurrent immune responses to other pathogens or parasites influence HIV acquisition and progression to AIDS?