Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and PharmacologyAlex Gurary
John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa
651 IIalo Street, Bioscience Building 320
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813


Research Interests

My research focuses on characterizing the nature of long term dengue virus memory T cell immunity. Published research shows that DENV-specific TM cells may play a paradoxical role by having both protective and pathogenic effect in DENV infection, but detailed characterization of the phenotype and functional capacity of DENV-specific TM cells in humans has not been undertaken. Epidemiological data from DENV infections in Cuba point to interval between primary and secondary infections as contributing factor to disease severity. DENV outbreaks in Hawaii were reported in the19th century, and before the 2001 DENV-1 outbreak, the last autochthonous DENV transmission occurred in the 1940s. This 60-year gap in transmission provided a unique opportunity to define the phenotypic and functional characteristics of long-term DENV-specific T cell-mediated immunity. For my research, I have obtained samples from individuals infected with DENV-1 60 years, 10 years, and 3 years previously. With this unique sample set, I was able to address key questions regarding the longevity of DENV-specific TM cells, namely a detailed characterization of frequency, memory phenotype, and functional capacity of these cells, which are all-important correlates of immune function. My research showed that DENV-1 specific memory T cells can be detected even six decades after primary infection, and that there are differences in longevity kinetics of DENV-1- specific memory T cells between the CD4 and CD8 compartments in regards to proliferation, and distinct time effects on memory phenotype and cytokine secretion proifles of DENV-1 CD8+ T cells.

Current position

University of Hawaii
Molecular and Cellular Immunology Core 2005-present
Flow Cytometry Core Facility specialist
Provide individualized immunology support services; research and development on immunological techniques and assays; and education and training in molecular and cellular immunology


University of Hawaii, TRMD 2004-present- PhD Student Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology & Pharmacology
Detection and characterization of DENV-1-specific memory T cells

University of Hawaii, Manoa 2004 Undergraduate Chemistry

University of Maryland, College Park 1984, Undergraduate Chemistry/Mathematics/Physics

Previous Experience

University of Hawaii
Research Support 2003-2005
Characterizing Dengue specific T cell responses in the 2001 Hawaii Dengue outbreak

Research support 1999-2003
Assisting in research elucidating CD8+ HIV specific immune responses

Research support 1998-1999
Developing antibody based field kit for identifying PCB environmental contaminants

Cliquo Restaurant, Honolulu, Hawaii 1997-2000
Restaurant owner and operator
Owned and operated gourmet French restaurant

Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, and Hilton Resorts 1985-1997
Corporate Hotel Management Trainer
Specialized in opening new hotel properties


1. Antibody to Dengue 1 detected more than 60 years after infection Allison Imrie, Janet Meeks, Alexandra Gurary, Munkhzul Sukhbaatar, Thang Thua Truong, C. Bruce Cropp, Paul Effler. Viral Immunology. December 1, 2007, 20(4): 672-675.
2. A new approach for analyzing cellular infiltration during allergic airway inflammation. Peter R. Hoffman, Alexandra Gurary, Fukun W. Hoffman, Claude Jordan-Le Saux, Kelsa teeters, Ann C. Hashimoto, Elizabeth K. Tam, Marla J. Bery.
J. Immunol. Methods, 2007
3. Differential Functional Avidity of Dengue Virus-Specific T-Cell Clones for Variant Peptides Representing Heterologous and Previously Encountered Serotypes. Allison Imrie, Janet Meeks, Alexandra Gurary, Munkhzul Sukhbataar, Paul Kitsutani, Paul Effler, and Zhengshan Zhao, Journal of Virology, September 2007, 81(18): 10081-91
4. Evaluation of a New Commercially Available Immunoglobulin M Capture Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Diagnosis of Dengue Infection. Madhuri Namekar, Esther Ellis, Maile O’Connell, Joe Elm, Alexandra Gurary, Sarah Park, Allison Imrie, and Vivek Nerurkar. Journal of Clinical Microbiology
(in press)