Galit Alter, PhD

Lab Info:

Principal Investigator: Galit Alter, PhD

Lab Staff: 6 research staff scientists, 14 post docs, 5 graduate students, 2 undergraduate students, 7 technicians, 3 administrators

Office/Location: 400TS 784

Phone: (857) 268-7003


Category: Group Leaders, Members

Galit Alter received her PhD in experimental medicine from McGill University, and is currently a Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Over the past 8 years her research has focused on understanding the role of the innate immune response to chronic viral infections, including HIV and HCV, with a focus on defining the role of Natural Killer (NK) cells in antiviral control. Recently, these studies have shifted gears to begin to define the mechanism by which these innate immune effector cells may be harnessed through vaccination to gain more effective control over viral replication. To do this, her current research interests lie in defining the role of innate immune recruiting antibodies in providing protection from infection. Specifically, she is working towards defining the pathways that result in the targeted production of “protective” antibody glycans to enhance the production of antibodies that can potently block infections.


Advancement in understanding how to manipulate the antibody glycan in a targeted manner through vaccination will also lead to the generation of vaccines with broader applications by extending to the improvement of therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of malignancies and autoimmune diseases as well. This knowledge will provide insights into natural antibody glycovariation, and lead to the development of novel approaches to strategically tailor vaccines to induce innate immune cell-recruiting antibodies, with the hope that these findings will ultimately revolutionize the application of vaccines to treat and prevent a remarkably larger range of diseases.


Noteworthy Publications

1. Alter G, Heckerman D, Schneidewind A, Fadda L, Kadie CM, Carlson JM, Oniangue-Ndza C, Martin M, Li B, Khakoo SI, Carrington M, Allen TM, Altfeld M. HIV-1 adaptation to NK-cell-mediated immune pressure. Nature. 2011 Aug 3;476(7358):96-100.


2. Chung AW, Kumar MP, Arnold KB, Yu WH, Schoen MK, Dunphy LJ, Suscovich TJ, Frahm N, Linde C, Mahan AE, Hoffner M, Streeck H, Ackerman ME, McElrath JM, Schuitemaker H, Pau MG, Baden L, Kim JH, Michael NL, Barouh DH, Lauffenburger. DA, Alter G. Dissecting polyclonal vaccine-induced humoral immunity against HIV using Systems Serology. Cell. 2015 Nov 5;163(4):988-98.


3. Alison E. Mahan, Madeleine F. Jennewein, Todd Suscovich, Kendall Dionne, Jacquelynne Tedesco, Amy W. Chung, Hendrik Streeck, Maria Pau, Hanneke Schuitemaker, Don Francis, Patricia Fast, Dagna Laufer, Bruce D. Walker, Lindsey Baden, Dan H. Barouch, Galit Alter. Antigen-specific antibody glycosylation is regulated via vaccination. PLOS Path. 2016 Mar 16;12(3):e1005456.


4. Lu LL, Chung AW, Rosebrock T, Ghebremichael M, Yu WH, Schoen MK, Tafesse F, Martin C, Leung V, Mahan AE, Sips M, Tedesco J, Robinson H, Tkachenko E, Freedberg, Streeck H, Suscovich TJ, Draghi M, Lauffenburger D, Restrepo BI, Day C, Fortune S, Alter G. A functional role for antibodies in tuberculosis. Cell. 2016 Oct 6;167(2):433-443.e14.


5. Yu WH, Zhao P, Draghi M, Arevalo C, Karsten CB, Suscovich TJ, Gunn B, Streeck H, Brass AL, Tiemeyer M, Seaman M, Mascola JR, Wells L, Lauffenburger DA, Alter G. Exploiting glycan topography for computational design of Env glycoprotein antigenicity. PLoS Comput Biol. 2018 Apr 20;14(4):e1006093. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006093.


6. Lofano G, Gorman MJ, Yousif AS, Yu WH, Fox JM, Dugast AS, Ackerman ME, Suscovich TJ, Weiner J, Barouch D, Streeck H, Little S, Smith D, Richman D, Lauffenburger D, Walker BD, Diamond MS, and Alter G. Antigen-specific antibody Fc-glycosylation enhances humoral immunity via the recruitment of complement. Science Immunology. 2018.



1. Ackerman ME, Dugast AS, Alter G. Emerging concepts on the role of innate immunity in the prevention and control of HIV infection. Annu Rev Med. 2012;63:113-30. Epub 2011 Nov 8.


2. Berger CT, Alter G. Natural Killer cells in spontaneous control of HIV infection. CurrOpin HIV AIDS. 2011 May;6(3):208-13. Review.


3. Alter G, Altfeld M. Mutiny or scrutiny: NK cell modulation of DC function in HIV-1 infection. Trends Immunol. 2011 May;32(5):219-24. Epub 2011 Mar 14.


4. Fadda L and Alter G. KIR/HLA: Genetic Clues for a Role of NK cells in the Control of HIV. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2012; 780:27-36.


Laboratory Staff:


Research Staff:

Thomas Broge, Technologist

Jon Fallon, PhD, Staff Scientist

Caitlyn Linde, Research Specialist

Richard Lu, PhD, Research Specalist

Vicky Roy, Technologist

Todd Suscovich, PhD, Senior Research Lab Manager



Anthony Cadena, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Jishnu Das, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Leela Davies, MD, PhD, Infectious Disease Fellow

Allison Demas, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Elizabeth DeRiso, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Matthew Gorman, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Patricia Grace, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Bronwyn Gunn, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Christina Karsten, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Lenette Lu, MD, PhD, Infectious Disease Fellow

Nickita Mehta, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Evan Rossignol, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Aniruddh Sarkar, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Wen-Han Yu, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow


Graduate Students:

Carolyn Boudreau

Stephanie Fischinger

Edward Irvine

Madeleine Jennewein

Jeffrey Kawahara



Audrey Butler

Dario Garcia-Dominguez

Thomas Linnekin

Ashlin Michell

Sally Shin

Matthew Slein

Alex Zhu


Corinne Luedemann, Project Manager

Madeline Davis, Project Coordinator