Erica directs cellular immunology studies of specimens from HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) trials in Southern Africa. She completed her PhD in immunology at the University of Washington in Seattle in June 2006 under the mentorship of Dr. Alan Aderem, where she studied the role of Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) in the innate immune response to bacterial flagellin.
She then carried out a postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Julie McElrath’s laboratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where she profiled innate immune responses induced by candidate HIV vaccines, providing new information about human immune responses to experimental adjuvants and viral vaccine vectors.
She has worked to incorporate innate immune response assays into the HVTN and has contributed extensively to clinical trial protocol development in the HVTN. She relocated to Cape Town in January 2013 to start CHIL and is working to define immune responses to HIV vaccines in Southern African populations.