Principal Investigator

Spyros Kalams, MD headshot

Spyros Kalams, MD is the Principal Investigator of the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Trials Unit. He is interested in evaluating the immune responses generated by HIV vaccine candidates in HIV seronegative subjects. As part of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, he is also interested in evaluating ways to augment HIV-specific immunity through therapeutic immunization of subjects infected with HIV.






Gregory Wilson, MD headshot

Gregory Wilson, MD studies HIV infection in children and is director of the Vanderbilt Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Subunit. He also is the Co-Investigator of the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Trials unit. His HIV research interests are non-cytotoxic CD8 lymphocyte control of viral replication and the design of treatment strategies for children who develop resistance to combination antiretroviral therapy. On-going research in Dr. Wilson's laboratory includes analysis of wild-type and mutant 3 proteins to identify specific regions in 3 that influence disassembly of reovirus virions.



Clinic Coordinator


Shonda Sumner is a registered nurse with 20 plus years of experience. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing and is currently working towards her Master's Degree. Her work experience includes ICU, CCU and Pre-op/Recovery units.



Nursing Staff

Our friendly nursing staff will guide you through the entire process of volunteering for HIV vaccine clinical trials.

Amber Massey Vandy


Amber Massey, BSN, RN is a Research Nurse Specialist with a warm heart and big smile! Amber is a graduate of the University of Memphis where she earned her BSN in 2015. Since then, she has worked as an RN at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for 4 years. Amber transitioned into her new role as Research Nurse at the beginning of 2020. Her previous experience has been with cardiology , but she discovered a passion to help in HIV vaccine research.





Laboratory Personnel


Rita Smith
Laboratory Director
Rita is the Laboratory Director for the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program. She provides supervision and coordination of laboratory assays and shipping for clinical vaccine trials.




Gwendolyn Rees
Senior Laboratory Technician
Gwendolyn is a Senior Laboratory Technician for the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program. Her skills include cell separation and freezing, database management, and a wide variety of molecular biology skills.





Dana King

Dana King
Research Assistant II
Dana is no stranger to Vanderbilt. She's worked in many departments off and on since 1990, including the Vision Research Center, the Leukemia Lab, and even the very beginning of embryonic stem cell research.





Community Engagement Team


Jarissa Greenard
Community Educator Recruiter
In this role, Jarissa identifies and builds networks with the Greater Nashville community to encourage their participation and representation in HIV Vaccine Prevention clinical trials. In addition to this role, she serves as a liaison between study participants and clinical nurses to facilitate study enrollment. To contact Jarissa, call (615) 343-8140.




Keith Richardson
Community Engagement Coordinator
Keith brings several years of work experience in event planning and strategic marketing to the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program. In this role, he assists in bridging the gap with other community partners and health professionals to bring awareness to HIV prevention. To contact Keith, call (615) 343-2878.