Schulich school of Medicine and Dentistry logo Microbiology & Immunology Schulich Medicine & Dentistry

Welcome to the Prodger Lab

Dr. Jessica Prodger, MSc PhD
Assistant Professor
office: MSB 386
ph: 519.661.4743


MSc:     Transplant Immunology, University of Toronto
PhD:     HIV-1 Mucosal Immunology, University of Toronto and Rakai Health Sciences Program, Uganda
PDF:     Dept. of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA
Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institutes of Health, USA

Our first research goal is to better understand natural resistance/susceptibility to HIV-1.  Certain aspects of the penile microbiome can increase risk of acquiring HIV-1.  We are currently working to identify both the species/strains of microbes and the aspects of the human immune response to these microbes that are responsible for increased susceptibility. We plan to use this knowledge to create targeted antimicrobials to prevent HIV-1 infections.
Our second goal is to understand the unique barriers to curing individuals living with HIV-1 in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV-1 remains incurable due to the stable integration of viral DNA into the host genome. We have shown that individuals living in Uganda have a reduced frequency of latently infected cells, but may have differing immunological characteristics to their North American peers, requiring tailored cure strategies.  We are working to further characterize latent HIV-1 infection in this Ugandan population, and plan to test HIV-1 cure strategies, such as those under development by Drs. Jamie Mann and Eric Arts, as they become available.

Selected Publications:

 Prodger JL, Kaul R. The biology of how circumcision reduces HIV susceptibility: broader implications for the prevention field. AIDS Res Ther. 2017 Sep 12;14(1):49. Review. PMID: 28893286

Prodger JL, Lai J, Reynolds SJ, Keruly JC, Moore RD, Kasule J, Kityamuweesi T, Buule P, Serwadda D, Nason M, Capoferri AA, Porcella SF, Siliciano RF, Redd AD, Siliciano JD, Quinn TC. Reduced Frequency of Cells Latently Infected With Replication-Competent Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 in Virally Suppressed Individuals Living in Rakai, Uganda. Clin Infect Dis. 2017 Oct 15;65(8):1308-1315. PMID: 28535179

Liu CM, Prodger JL, Tobian AAR, Abraham AG, Kigozi G, Hungate BA, Aziz M, Nalugoda F, Sariya S, Serwadda D, Kaul R, Gray RH, Price LB. Penile Anaerobic Dysbiosis as a Risk Factor for HIV Infection. MBio. 2017 Jul 25;8(4). PMID: 28743816

Prodger JL, Gray RH, Shannon B, Shahabi K, Kong X, Grabowski K, Kigozi G, Nalugoda F, Serwadda D, Wawer MJ, Reynolds SJ, Liu CM, Tobian AA, Kaul R. Chemokine Levels in the Penile Coronal Sulcus Correlate with HIV-1 Acquisition and Are Reduced by Male Circumcision in Rakai, Uganda. PLoS Pathog. 2016 Nov 29;12(11):e1006025. PMID: 27898732

Prodger JL, Hirbod T, Kigozi G, Nalugoda F, Reynolds SJ, Galiwango R, Shahabi K, Serwadda D, Wawer MJ, Gray RH, Kaul R; Rakai Genital Immunology Research Group. Immune correlates of HIV exposure without infection in foreskins of men from Rakai, Uganda. Mucosal Immunol. 2014 May;7(3):634-44. PMID: 24150258