• Dr. Sabbaj’s research interests are mainly focused on the study of HIV-specific T cells from peripheral blood and different mucosal compartments and their role in the pathogenesis of HIV-infection. She has studied T cells isolated from peripheral blood, breast milk and more recently menstrual blood in order to understand how these cells control infection. She has extensive experience and expertise in isolating and characterizing T cells from multiple cell sources from both HIV infected and HIV vaccinated healthy individuals. She was the first to demonstrate that HIV-specific T cells were present in the breast milk of infected women and was the first to isolate and characterize T cells from menstrual blood.

    She has various publications demonstrating her ability to measure both CD4 and CD8 antigen-specific responses in humans using a plethora of assays including the IFN-g ELISPOT, intracellular cytokine staining and CFSE staining using multicolor flow cytometry. Additional interests include studying T cell responses generated to an experimental vaccine against CMV and understanding NK cells and their functions via HLA-E bound to HIV peptides.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2018 T cell phenotypes in women with Chlamydia trachomatis infection and influence of treatment on phenotype distributionsMicrobes and Infection.  20:176-184. 2018
    2017 Distinct peripheral vs mucosal T-cell phenotypes in chlamydia-infected womenAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology.  78. 2017
    2017 Breast milk human cytomegalovirus (CMV) viral load and the establishment of breast milk CMV-pp65-Specific CD8 T Cells in Human CMV infected mothersJournal of Infectious Diseases.  216:1176-1179. 2017
    2017 CD151 expression is associated with a hyperproliferative T cell phenotypeJournal of Immunology.  199:3336-3347. 2017
    2017 The predominant CD4+ Th1 cytokine elicited to chlamydia trachomatis infection in women is tumor necrosis factor alpha and not interferon gammaClinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology.  24. 2017
    2016 Enhanced allogeneic cellular responses to mismatched HLA-B antigens results in more efficient killing of HIV infected cellsJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology.  71:493-497. 2016
    2016 HIV-1 latency and virus production from unintegrated genomes following direct infection of resting CD4 T cellsRetrovirology.  13. 2016
    2015 Stable phenotypic changes of the host T cells are essential to the long-term stability of latent HIV-1 infectionJournal of Virology.  89:6656-6672. 2015
    2014 Immune activation is associated with CD8 T cell interleukin-21 production in HIV-1-infected individualsJournal of Virology.  88:10259-10263. 2014
    2014 Therapeutic efficacy of suppressing the JAK/STAT pathway in multiple models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitisJournal of Immunology.  192:59-72. 2014
    2013 Dimorphic HLA-B signal peptides differentially influence HLA-E- and natural killer cell-mediated cytolysis of HIV-1-infected target cellsClinical and Experimental Immunology.  174:414-423. 2013
    2013 HIV-specific CD8+ T cells from elite controllers are primed for survivalJournal of Virology.  87:5170-5181. 2013
    2013 Hormonal contraception and hiv-1 infection: Medroxyprogesterone acetate suppresses innate and adaptive immune mechanismsEndocrinology.  154:1282-1295. 2013
    2012 Host factor transcriptional regulation contributes to preferential expression of HIV type 1 in IL-4-producing CD4 T cellsJournal of Immunology.  189:2746-2757. 2012
    2012 Cellular immunity in breast milk: Implications for postnatal transmission of HIV-1 to the infantAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology.  743:161-169. 2012
    2012 Cellular immunity in breast milk: implications for postnatal transmission of HIV-1 to the infant.Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology.  743:161-169. 2012
    2011 Menstrual blood as a potential source of endometrial derived CD3+ T cellsPLoS ONE.  6. 2011
    2011 Interleukin-2 production by polyfunctional HIV-1-specific CD8 T cells is associated with enhanced viral suppressionJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology.  58:132-140. 2011
    2011 Glycoprotein B vaccine is capable of boosting both antibody and CD4 T-cell responses to cytomegalovirus in chronically infected womenJournal of Infectious Diseases.  203:1534-1541. 2011
    2011 CD8 T-cell proliferative capacity is compromised in primary HIV-1 infectionJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.  56:213-221. 2011
    2011 Interleukin-21-producing HIV-1-specific CD8 T cells are preferentially seen in elite controllersJournal of Virology.  85:2316-2324. 2011
    2010 CD8 T cell response and evolutionary pressure to HIV-1 cryptic epitopes derived from antisense transcriptionJournal of Experimental Medicine.  207:51-59. 2010
    2009 P16-04. Cryptic CTL epitopes derived from antisense transcription are frequently recognized in HIV-1 infectionRetrovirology.  6. 2009
    2007 Functionally competent antigen-specific Cd127hi memory CD8 + T cells are preserved only in HIV-infected individuals receiving early treatmentJournal of Infectious Diseases.  195:108-117. 2007
    2005 Cutting edge: Emergence of CD127high functionally competent memory T cells is compromised by high viral loads and inadequate T cell helpJournal of Immunology.  174:5926-5930. 2005
    2005 Breast milk-derived antigen-specific CD8+ T cells: An extralymphoid effector memory cell population in humansJournal of Immunology.  174:2951-2956. 2005
    2005 CD8 T-cell responses in early HIV-1 infection are skewed towards high entropy peptidesAIDS.  19:241-250. 2005
    2004 Paucity of antigen-specific IgA responses in sera and external secretions of HIV-type 1-infected individualsAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.  20:972-988. 2004
    2003 T Cell Responses in HIV Type 1-Infected Adolescent Minorities Share Similar Epitope Specificities with Whites Despite Significant Differences in HLA Class I AllelesAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.  19:1017-1026. 2003
    2003 Cross-reactive CD8+ T cell epitopes identified in US adolescent minoritiesJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.  33:426-438. 2003
    2002 Favorable and unfavorable HLA class I alleles and haplotypes in Zambians predominantly infected with clade C human immunodeficiency virus type 1Journal of Virology.  76:8276-8284. 2002
    2002 Human immunodeficiency virus-specific CD8+ T cells in human breast milkJournal of Virology.  76:7365-7373. 2002
    2002 Magnitude of functional CD8+ T-cell responses to the Gag protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 correlates inversely with viral load in plasmaJournal of Virology.  76:2298-2305. 2002
    2001 Cellular and humoral immune responses to a canarypox vaccine containing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 env, gag, and pro in combination with RGP120Journal of Infectious Diseases.  183:563-570. 2001
    2000 Cytokine profiles in seronegative volunteers immunized with a recombinant canarypox and gp120 prime-boost HIV-1 vaccineAIDS.  14:1365-1374. 2000
    2000 Protective immunity to rotavirus shedding in the absence of interleukin- 6: Th1 cells and immunoglobulin A develop normallyJournal of Virology.  74:5250-5256. 2000
    2000 A significant number of human immunodeficiency virus epitope-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes detected by tetramer binding do not produce gamma interferonJournal of Virology.  74:10249-10255. 2000
    1997 [Not Available].Clinical immunotherapeutics.  7:134-157. 1997
    1997 Mucosal immunisation for enteric diseases: Current practice and future prospectsClinical immunotherapeutics.  7:134-157. 1997
    1992 Quantitation of antigen-specific immune responses in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals by limiting dilution analysisJournal of Clinical Immunology.  12:216-224. 1992
    Diminished CD103 (αEβ7) Expression on Resident T Cells from the Female Genital Tract of HIV-Positive Women.Pathogens and Immunity.  1:371-387.
    Epitope Capsid-Incorporation: New Effective Approach for Vaccine Development for Chagas Disease.Pathogens and Immunity.  1:214-233.

    Investigator On

  • Overcoming HIV-1 Transcriptional Latency in Unresponsive CD4 T Cells  awarded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH/DHHS 2016 - 2021
  • Comprehensive Cancer Center Core Support Grant  awarded by National Cancer Institute/NIH/DHHS 2017 - 2021
  • Comprehensive Cancer Center Core Support Grant - Administrative Supplement to Stimulate Research in HIV/AIDS Cancer Research  awarded by National Cancer Institute/NIH/DHHS 2017 - 2021
  • Identification of Drugs that Induce Terminal Transcriptional Silencing of Latent HIV-1 Infection  awarded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH/DHHS 2017 - 2020
  • CTL and HIV Polymorphisms in Heterosexual Transmission  awarded by Emory University 2015 - 2020
  • Kinomic Analysis of Host Cell Factors Controlling Latent HIV-1 Infection  awarded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH/DHHS 2016 - 2019
  • MTN 026 Protocol Funds  awarded by Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) 2015 - 2018
  • Private Grant  awarded by GENOCEA BIOSCIENCES, INC. 2016 - 2017
  • Mechanisms and Correlates of Immune Protection Against Genital Chlamydia in Humans  awarded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH/DHHS 2011 - 2017
  • Kinomic Analysis of Host Cell Factors Controlling Latent HIV-1 Infection  awarded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH/DHHS 2014 - 2016
  • Effector and Regulatory Activities of HLA-E-Restricted HIV-Specific aBCD8 T Cells  awarded by UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS (EL PASO) 2012 - 2016
  • HIV-1 Cryptic Epitopes: Implications for Vaccine Design  awarded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH/DHHS 2009 - 2015
  • CTL and HIV Polymorphisms in Heterosexual Transmission  awarded by Emory University 2010 - 2015
  • Analysis of Variant Epitope Specific CD8 T-Cells to Optimize HIV Vaccine Design  awarded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH/DHHS 2012 - 2014
  • Education And Training

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Immunology, Ohio State University System : Columbus 1994
  • Full Name

  • Steffanie Sabbaj