Christian Brander

Christian Brander

Institut de Recerca de la Sida - IrsiCaixa

Life & Medical Sciences

Christian Brander obtained his PhD in Immunology from the University of Bern in 1994 for his studies on T-cell hypersensitivity to Penicillin and work on the mechanisms of exogenous antigen re-presentation on HLA class I. He completed his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School focusing on T cell immunity to HIV and studying the impact that host genetics have on these immune responses. He joined ICREA in 2008 with an appointment at the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute. He has a special interest in the neurological consequences of HIV infection and the brain as a site of the viral reservoir.  He works on the development of therapeutic HIV vaccine candidates and is a co-inventor of the HIV "HTI" immunogen, which is developed clinically by Aelix Therapeutics where he is a co-founder and CSO. He serves as the scientific director of the HIVACAT program, as a curator of the Los Alamos HIV Database and is an Associate Professor at the University of Vic.

Research interests

Our group aims to understand the cellular immunity to viral infections in the immune compromised host, including HIV infected subjects and individuals undergoing organ transplantation. Using complementary sets of immune analyses and integrated -omics approaches, we seek to identify functional correlates of virus control and to explore their underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms. A main focus lies on the definition of biomarkers of controlled HIV infection, for which we have established unique cohorts of HIV-infected and HIV-exposed, yet uninfected individuals. We developed (“boosted”) flow cytometry tools and combine methylome, communicome, transcriptomics analyses to assess to what degree and at what stages of HIV infection the effector function profiles of virus-specific T cells are epigenetically controlled. We also pay special attention to the effect of HIV infection on neurological function and how a viral reservoir in the brain may impact HIV cure strategies.

Selected publications

– Guillen Y, Noguera-Julian M, Rivera J, Casadella M, Zevin AS, Rocafort M, Parera M, Rodriguez C, Arumi M, Carrillo J, Mothe B, Estany C, Coll J, Bravo I, Herrero C, Saz J, Sirera G, Torrella A, Navarro J, Crespo M, Negredo E, Brander C, Blanco J, Calle ML, Klatt NR, Clotet B & Paredes R 2019, ‘Low nadir CD4+T-cell counts predict gut dysbiosis in HIV-1 infection’, Mucosal Immunology, 12, 1, 232 – 246.

– Ruiz-Riol M & Brander C 2019, ‘Can we just kick-and-kill HIV: possible challenges posed by the epigenetically controlled interplay between HIV and host immunity’, Immunotherapy, 11, 11, 931 – 935.

– Kilpelainen A, Saubi N, Guitart N, Olvera A, Hanke T, Brander C & Joseph J 2019, ‘Recombinant BCG Expressing HTI Prime and Recombinant ChAdOx1 Boost Is Safe and Elicits HIV-1-Specific T-Cell Responses in BALB/c Mice’, Vaccines, 7, 3, 78.

– Mothe B, Manzardo C, Sanchez-Bernabeu A, Coll P, Morón-López S, Puertas MC, Rosas-Umbert M, Cobarsi P, Escrig R, Perez-Alvarez N, Ruiz I, Rovira C, Meulbroek M, Crook A, Borthwick N, Wee EG, Yang H, Miró JM, Dorrell L, Clotet B, Martinez-Picado J, Brander C & Hanke T 2019, ”Therapeutic Vaccination Refocuses T-cell Responses Towards Conserved Regions of HIV-1 in Early Treated Individuals (BCN 01 study)‘, EClinicalMedicine, 11:65-80.

– Rosás-Umbert M, Llano A, Bellido R, Olvera A, Ruiz-Riol M, Rocafort M, Fernández MA, Cobarsi P, Crespo M, Dorrell L, Del Romero J, Alcami J, Paredes R, Brander C & Mothe B 2019, ‘Mechanisms of abrupt loss of virus control in a cohort of previous HIV controllers‘, J Virol, 93(4). pii: e01436-18.