Richard Koup, M.D.

Vaccine Immunology Program

Richard Koup, M.D.

Deputy Director, Vaccine Research Center
Chief, Immunology Laboratory and Immunology Section
Acting Chief, Vaccine Immunology Program
Acting Chief, Humoral Immunology Section

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Richard Koup, M.D.

Major Areas of Research

  • B cell immunobiology of influenza
  • Development of high throughput analyses aimed at defining the B cell immunogenetics
  • Development and deployment of high throughout analysis that characterize HIV, RSV and Influenza humoral responses 

View all research conducted at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC)

Program Description

Vaccine discovery and development requires intimate knowledge of the immune responses elicited by experimental immunization during clinical evaluation. The Vaccine Immunology Program (VIP) has assembled functional groups that engage in basic and translational B cell immunobiology research (including high throughput automated immunoglobulin and transcriptome analyses) in addition to standardized end-point analyses for clinical trials. The goal was to bring these functional groups under a single program in order to facilitate the coordinated development and deployment of state-of-the-art technologies and analyses, which can be utilized effectively for vaccine discovery, early development and testing of clinical products.

In recent years, the VIP-research group has focused upon in-depth analyses of VRC influenza vaccine trials, specifically the complex immunobiology characterizing the B cells recognizing influenza HA-stem region.  For example, from an influenza group 1 H5N1 vaccine trial the VIP-research team have described common immunoglobulin lineages that consistently and reproducibly occur within human populations and are capable of neutralizing group 1 and 2 influenza strains by targeting the HA-stem region. 

Also, within the VIP reside both the translational and clinical testing laboratories are responsible for the development, implementation and eventual deployment of qualified virus neutralization, humoral and cellular analyses appropriate for prospective licensure of VRC-NIAID vaccines. In addition, within the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the VIP is involved in the Comprehensive Cellular- Vaccine Immune-Monitoring Corsortium (CC-VIMC) led by Dr Koup.

In this role, the VIP-translational research team has applied novel B cell repertoire analyses designed to specifically analyze the next generation of HIV vaccine strategies.  The VIP laboratories are currently preparing for the analyses of the first in-person clinical trial (in collaboration with CAVD and IAVI) of immunogens aimed at driving HIV CD4bs specific B lineages to ultimately elicit highly mutated neutralizing VRC01-class antibodies.

In conclusion, VIP continually extends its capabilities and technologies in order to better understand the immune response elicited by products developed at the VRC-NIAID-NIH and beyond.  Overall the goal of the Program is to improve the understanding of T- and B-cell immunobiology to further efficacious vaccination strategies directed towards HIV, Influenza and other potentially preventable diseases.



M.D., 1982, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

M.S., 1979, University of Connecticut​, Stamford, CT

B.S., 1978, University of Connecticut​, Stamford, CT

Dr. Koup received his B.S. in biophysics in 1978 and his M.S. in biochemistry in 1979 from the University of Connecticut​. He attended Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he obtained his M.D. in 1982. Dr. Koup served an internship and residency in internal medicine with the Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island, from 1982 to 1985. He served in a clinical fellowship (infectious diseases) at the Worcester Memorial Hospital and a research fellowship (viral immunology), at UMass Medical Center, Worcester. Dr. Koup is board certified in both internal medicine and infectious diseases. Dr. Koup previously held several academic appointments at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center that include chief, division of infectious disease; professor, internal medicine; professor, microbiology; and the Jay P. Sanford Professor of Infectious Diseases.​​​

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