June 26, 2020

DHVI Faculty Appointments

The DHVI is pleased to announce the faculty appointments of Drs. Kevin O. Saunders and Kevin J. Wiehe to Associate Professor.

Kevin O. Saunders, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in Surgery

Dr. Kevin O. Saunders graduated from Davidson College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. As an undergraduate student, he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Karen Hales identifying the genes that control infertility using Drosophila as a model system. Dr. Saunders completed his doctoral research on CD8+ T cell immunity against HIV-1 infection with Dr. Georgia Tomaras at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute  (DHVI) and Center for AIDS Research in 2010.  He subsequently joined the laboratory of Dr. Gary Nabel at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC) as a postdoctoral fellow. At the VRC, he examined the protective capacity of passive immunization of HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies in preclinical studies. In 2014, Dr. Saunders returned to Duke and joined the faculty at the DHVI as a medical instructor. With the funding of his first R01 grant, Dr. Saunders was promoted to a non-tenure track assistant professor in Surgery in 2015, and successfully transitioned to a tenure-track appointment in 2018. Dr. Saunders is currently the DHVI Director of Research, Director of the Laboratory of Protein Expression, and the Faculty Chairperson of the DHVI Diversity and Inclusion committee. His research program includes a multitude of independent and collaborative projects focused on antibody responses to vaccination and viral infection and novel vaccine design.  



Kevin J. Wiehe, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in Medicine

Dr. Kevin Wiehe received his Bachelor of Science degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University.  He went on to do his graduate work in structural bioinformatics at Boston University in one of the nation’s first Bioinformatics PhD programs.  He did his postdoctoral work at Duke University in computational immunology and HIV vaccine design with Tom Kepler and Scott Schmidler, where he first started collaborating with Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI) investigators.  In 2012, Dr. Wiehe joined DHVI as a Bioinformatician and transitioned to a faculty position as Medical Instructor. In 2015, he became Director of Computational Biology at DHVI and in 2017 was promoted to assistant professor in the Department of Medicine.  He is currently the Associate Director of Research at DHVI, co-leads the Quantitative Research Division at DHVI, and co-leads the Computational Biology and Immunogen Design Unit of the Duke Consortia for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development (CHAVD).  Dr. Wiehe’s research is focused on using computational approaches to integrate antibody sequence and structural data to inform vaccine design and is particularly centered on identifying and overcoming the mutational barriers to broadly neutralizing antibody development.