HIV Vaccine Program Team

Principal Investigator

Spyros Kalams, MD headshotSpyros 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 headshotGregory 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.

Nurse Practitioner


Kyle Rybczyk, MSN, FNP is a Nurse Practitioner for the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program. He has been working with the program in the clinical setting since 1992. Additional research efforts have focused on the social implications of vaccine trial participation, the study of mucosal antibody in HIV and community advocacy in HIV vaccine trials. He is also the representative on the Vaccine-Induced Seropositivity taskforce.

Clinic Coordinator

ShondaShonda Sumner is a registered nurse with 12 years of experience. She graduated with an Associate Degree in Nursing in 1998 and completed her BSN in 2012. 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.


Amanda HeadshotAmanda Langlois is a registered nurse who graduated from Ramapo College with a BSN. Although Amanda is new to research, she brings several years of experience as a certified medical-surgical nurse and a passion to help make a difference. 

Laboratory Personnel

Rita Smith headshotRita 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 headshotGwendolyn 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 KingDana 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 KirkLeslie Kirk
Research Assistant II
After receiving her BS degree from Auburn University, Leslie continued her education at Nashville State Community College where she developed an interest in lab science. She began working in Infectious Diseases and shifted her focus from animals to trials in humans. 

Community Engagement Team

Jarissa GreenardJarissa 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 HeadshotKeith 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.