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Dr. Jia Zhu

Research Associate Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine

Dr. Zhu is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Washington School of Medicine, and an Associate Professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the Fred Hutch Cancer Center. Dr. Zhu studies the tissue-based immune response to HSV infection in human skin and genital mucosa, focusing on intricate interactions between HSV and local immune responses. Early on she developed novel laboratory tools to detect how immune cells behave in genital tissues during the active and latent phases of herpes infection. These pivotal studies led to the plausible explanation on how local inflammation by chronic HSV reactivation increases HIV acquisition, as well as the discovery of tissue resident memory CD8+ T cells accumulating at sites of virus release and performing immune surveillance and rapid clearance. Currently, her team has bioengineered a 3-D vascularized, biomimetic ‘Skin-on-Chip’ device that is capable of immune-cell and drug perfusion, as an alternative platform for deciphering complex and dynamic host pathophysiology to HSV infection and for preclinical evaluation of antiviral drug efficacy in humans.

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