Iain MacLeod

Research Associate

Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases


Face2 (photo.jpg)Ph.D in Molecular Virology
Dept. of Pathology
University of Cambridge (UK) (2007)

LL.M in International Law
School of Law
University of Glasgow (UK) (2004)

B.Sc in Virology
School of Life Science
University of Glasgow (UK) (2003) / Universitat de Barcelona (2002)

Contact: imacleod@hsph.harvard.edu

Background: I have had a strong interest in molecular virology throughout my academic career. My undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow was the only one of its kind in the UK to focus in virology. In the lab of Prof. David Blackbourn, I was involved in the initial characterization of viral interferon regulatory factors (vIRFs) encoded by Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus.

This interest led to a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge (2004 – 2007) focusing on the induction of intracellular signaling by herpes simplex type-1, with my doctoral training involving multiple technical and analytical facets of molecular virology. A post-doctoral fellowship (2008 – 2011) in the lab of Prof. Max Essex at HSPH allowed me to develop my keen interest in the clinical applicability of molecular virology, where I had the opportunity to learn numerous quantitative analytical methods.

I spent 2010 conducting research at the Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute in Gaborone, Botswana, where I worked on the role of co-infections in HIV progression and transmission. I have a strong interest in diagnostic molecular virology that have I applied to the development of a cost-effective real- time PCR approach for typing of human papillomaviruses (HPV) infection for resource-limited settings.

In collaboration with colleagues at HSPH, I have pioneered the development of Pan Degenerate Amplification and Adaptation (PANDAA), a qPCR-based method for HIV drug resistance detection that is simple, low-cost, and highly sensitive, with point-of-care translatability and multi-parameter superiority to currently available commercial genotyping options.

Essex labHarvard AIDS Initiative / Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute

Research Interests

  • Molecular basis for the immunostimulatory activity of abacavir.
    Characterization of signaling pathways potentially involved in the stimulation of an inflammatory response during abacavir treatment.
  • Rapid detection of low-level NRTI drug resistance in HIV-1.
    Development of an assay for the analysis of nucleoside analog reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) drug resistance in HIV-1 variants in resource-limited settings, with a focus on rapid testing for first-line regimen failures.
  • Immune activation in response to HPV as a risk factor for HIV acquisition and transmission.
    Identification of the response of dendritic and Langerhans cells to HPV and the relationship between DC maturation and cytokine-mediated regulation of HIV transcription in chronically-infected PBMCs.