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Christina Gavegnano, PhDAssistant Professor


Dr. Gavegnano directs the Gavegnano Drug Discovery Program, which is a translational research laboratory focusing on inflammation as it relates to disease pathogenesis, with a special focus on drug discovery and immunomodulation with small molecule inhibitors including Jak inhibitors. Her group was the first to demonstrate a published antiviral and anti-HIV effect with the Jak inhibitor class of agents, including Ruxolitinib and Baricitinib; her PhD thesis focused on this subject, which became an internationally issued patent with Dr. Gavegnano as the co-inventor. Her team’s preclinical portfolio streamlined multiple clinical studies worldwide for HIV-1 (A5336 AIDS Clinical Trial sponsored Phase 2a study) and for COVID-19 (ACTT2 and ACTT4 for COVID, and other phase 3 studies). Dr. Gavegnano’s life’s passion and work in the Jak inhibitor space for viral infections springboard the Emergency Use Approval of her Jak inhibitor, baricitinib, for the indication of hospitalized COVID-19 patients; her efforts date back to her original invention during her PhD thesis here at Emory University in the Molecular Systems Pharmacology PhD program. Baricitinib has now received full FDA approval for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and confers the greatest reduction in mortality versus any standard of care to date (46 % reduction). Dr. Gavegnano recently earned her Master’s in Bioethics (MBE) from Harvard Medical School (May 2023).

To date, Dr. Gavegnano is the Co-Principal Investigator for multiple NIH funded Phase 2 and direct-to-phase 3 human studies, including baricitinib for the method of use of long-COVID and related post-viral sequelae, HIV-1 in the CNS, HIV-1 cure, and the indication of HIV-1 and Depression. Dr. Gavegnano collaborates extensively towards achieving eventual FDA approval for these indications, including a wide network of Emory and external investigators. Dr. Gavegnano joins the Human Health teaching faculty to discuss relevant subjects across therapeutic interventions, immunology/vaccines, drug discovery, and the role of bioethics across drug discovery.