HIV Vaccine Program Team

Principal Investigator


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 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 the disassembly of reovirus virions.


Clinic Coordinator


Shonda Sumner Headshot Small 01132023

Shonda Sumner MSN, RN is the Clinic Coordinator and has over 20 years of nursing experience. She has a Master's Degree in Nursing and has been with the program for over 12 years. Her prior work experience includes ICU, CCU and Pre-op/Recovery units. 



Nursing Staff


Ken Stroop

Kenneth Stroop is a registered nurse with 17 plus years of experience at VUMC. His work experience includes Trauma ICU, Interventional Radiology, GI Lab procedures and Workers’ Comp. Case Management.





Laboratory Staff



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.




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.


Leslie Kirk









Leslie Kirk 

I am a research assistant in the processing lab for Vanderbilt HVTN. I handle the samples that we receive from the clinic and prepare them for shipping. Personally, I feel hugely rewarded for the small role I get to play in this network of people who exhibit diligence and passion for discovering therapies for this virus. Outside of the clinic/lab work, there is a whole team devoted to creating community and providing information and support. Proud to be a piece of this ongoing puzzle! 


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.

Vic Sorrell









Vic Sorrell

Clinical and Translational Research Coordinator

Vic Sorrell returns to Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program after more than a decade of HIV community-centered service throughout the southeast.  Beginning as HIV Prevention Education Coordinator with Nashville CARES in 2008, Vic subsequently played a primary role in recruiting over 200 local volunteers for HIV clinical trials such as HVTN 505 "Hope Takes Action" and HVTN 704 "The AMP Study" while previously with the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program from 2010 - 2017. Subsequently, Vic joined Gilead Sciences, Inc., in the role of HIV Community Liaison - first in Tampa, FL, and then returning to his Nashville home in 2018 to serve a territory that included Nashville, Memphis, most of Alabama, and the Mississippi Delta.  Vic is a Holistic Life Coach and a dog dad to Miles, the Black Mouth Cur.