Welcome to the Kwon Lab

Seeking to understand the human immune response against HIV occurring in the mucosal tissues

What We Do

A look at our current research projects

Our Collaborators

We work with sites all over the world

Our Group

Learn more about our incredible people


Learn more about our recent findings

About the Kwon Lab


The focus of the Kwon lab is the application of new technologies to the study of immune responses against HIV at mucosal surfaces.

Mucosal surfaces represent both the primary site of HIV transmission and the largest reservoir of viral replication. Despite this, the immune response to HIV has largely been studied in the peripheral blood, which contains just 2-3% of all lymphocytes- a small minority relative to the 60-90% of the body’s T and B cells that reside at mucosal sites. One of the greatest barriers to a more detailed understanding of these responses is the inherently small amount of material that can be obtained from mucosal sampling. We are therefore employing new technologies, such as high throughput sequencing and nanowell technologies developed by our collaborators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to simultaneously capture multiple measures of viral, metagenomic, metatranscriptomic, culturomic and adaptive immune factors important for HIV immunity and pathogenesis. Using these methodologies we have begun to map microbial communities and mucosal immune responses in the lung, female reproductive tract, and gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), at a level of resolution that has not been possible employing standard assays. This work is being performed using the large, well characterized patient cohorts available at the Ragon Institute to better understand susceptibility to HIV acquisition and HIV disease progression. We also perform a significant amount of work in Africa in collaboration with the University of KwaZulu Natal HIV Pathogenesis ProgramKRITH, CAPRISA, FRESH, and the University of Cape Town, to better understand the HIV epidemic in the developing world.

Preventing HIV transmission in women

Women bear a disproportionate burden of the global HIV pandemic. What factors in the female genital tract affect HIV susceptibility and how do we help prevent HIV acquisition in women?

Studying the role of the gut in HIV disease progression

One of the hallmarks of HIV infection is a rapid and profound impairment of gut integrity. How does HIV affect intestinal immunity, intestinal stem cell function and the gut microbiome?

Addressing the HIV/TB pandemic

TB is the leading cause of death among those with HIV. How do we better understand the way HIV leads to impaired lung immune responses against Mycobacterium tuberculosis?

Rapidly diagnosing clinical infections

Doctors continue to use methods that were developed over 100 years ago to diagnose infections. We seek to leverage new technologies to advance this process to improve the quality of patient care.
See some of our recent publications.

Lab Life

Lab Life

Lab life

Lab Life

Lab Life

Lab Life

Join our Team!

Help us understand how the immune system fights HIV. See our available opportunities.

Contact Us

Our Address

The Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard

400 Technology Square

Cambridge, MA 02139

(857) 268-7160


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Parking Garage: 800 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

Public Transportation: We’re a short walk from the Kendall Square T stop