Meet the Team

Susan Zolla-Pazner

Dr. Susan Zolla-Pazner is a professor in the departments of Medicine and Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a guest investigator at the Rockefeller University. Her work has been pivotal in establishing the central role of antibodies in protection from HIV infection and thereby helping focus the efforts of the HIV vaccine field on humoral immunity as a preventive approach. leading the American  Association for the Advancement of Science to refer to her as an “antibody person.” Named one of “Six Prominent Women Scientists Making a Difference in the AIDS Fight” (IAVIReport), she has discussed her vaccine-development work on PBS’s “Charlie Rose” show. She received her PhD in medical microbiology at the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco. She is a moving force behind Music at Mount Sinai, a program that provides monthly musical concerts for patients and staff at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Contact:


Catarina E. Hioe

Catarina E. Hioe, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, and Department of Microbiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan. A recipient of the VA Research Career Scientist Award (2012-2017), she received her doctorate in medical microbiology and immunology from the University of Wisconsin. As head of the Hioe Lab, she continues to pave the way for novel vaccine designs to elicit potent antibody responses to HIV. Her lab is also investigating innovative strategies to protect the helper T cells that are essential for antibody generation but vulnerable to HIV infection.

Working in conjunction with the Zolla-Pazner lab, Dr. Hioe’s lab is testing immune complexes as a vaccine platform to elicit antibodies and Th cells against the HIV envelope. Her lab is the only one currently exploring the potential use of immune complexes as an HIV vaccine component. Contact:


Rebecca Powell

Dr. Rebecca Powell is an assistant professor of medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Currently Rebecca is analyzing the phagocytosis responses of THP-1s and neutrophils to better understand the effects of phagocytosis receptor profiles and the impact of antibody specificity on the elicitation of non-neutralizing biologic functions. She is also assessing the phagocytic capacity of breast-milk leukocytes and their potential role in the relatively low rate of HIV transmission in infants exclusively breast-fed by their HIV-infected mothers. She received her PhD in microbiology from Sackler Institute, New York University School of Medicine, in New York. Contact:


Svenja Weiss

Dr. Svenja Weiss is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Susan Zolla-Pazner. Svenja focuses on characterizing and quantifying the antibody response of animals receiving candidate HIV vaccines, which she compares with specimens from HIV-infected humans and from vaccinees participating in clinical trials. One of Svenja’s goals is to illuminate correlates and mechanisms of immune protection from HIV infection, using state-of-the-art high-throughput methods. She received her PhD in biochemistry from the Georg-Speyer-Haus Institute for Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapy, Johann-Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, in Germany. Contact: