Daniel Hoft, M.D., Ph.D.

Center for Vaccine Development - Faculty

Daniel Hoft, M.D., Ph.D.


Dr. Hoft was trained in Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa, where he received an NIH Physician Science Training Award (PSTA) allowing him to complete a Ph.D. in microbiology/immunology. He came to Saint Louis University in 1992 and has received continuous NIH funding since his arrival. In 2006, he was named the Director of the new Division of Immunobiology.  In 2010, the Divisions of Immunobiology, Infectious Diseases and Allergy & Immunology were joined into the new Division of Infectious Diseases, Allergy & Immunology with Dr. Hoft as Director.  In 2014 he became the Principal Investigator of SLU's Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU). 

Dr. Hoft's current NIH funded work focuses on bench to bedside investigations, ranging from basic mechanistic research to human translational trials, all with the overall goal of developing new vaccines protective against mucosally transmitted, intracellular pathogens. Most of his research involves 3 model pathogens, the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (the cause of Chagas heart disease), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the cause of tuberculosis infection and disease) and Influenza viruses (causes for seasonal and pandemic flu).  TCR transgenic and retrogenic T cells are being used to understand the interactions between different subsets of T and B lymphocytes required for vaccine-induced protective immunity.  State-of-the art immunoinformatic techniques and transgenic mice expressing human leukocyte antigens (HLA) are being used to test T cell vaccines in pre-clinical models.  Clinical trials are being conducted to test the safety, immunogenicity and induction of protective immunity by new vaccines.    

Dr. Hoft's major contributions to the fields of immunology and vaccinology include the following.  His work led to the first demonstration that CD4+ Th1 cells are critically important for both mucosal and systemic protective immunity.  He was the first to demonstrate that human g9d2 T cells develop memory responses and provide protective TB immunity, an important current focus of his TB vaccine development work.  He led the first human trials of recombinant BCG vaccines, showing that these new TB vaccines were safe and induced enhanced immune responses compared with the nonrecombinant BCG vaccines currently being used worldwide for TB vaccination.  More recently he found that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) induced much greater T cell immunity in children compared with inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), potentially explaining why LAIV is more protective against influenza infection and disease in pediatric populations. 




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