Kiera Clayton, PhD - Principal Investigator

After receiving her Honors BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto, she completed her PhD in Immunology under the supervision of Dr. Mario Ostrowski, working on Tim-3 regulation of immune responses during HIV infection. In 2015, she joined Dr. Bruce Walker’s lab at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, where she showed that HIV-infected macrophages were resistant to killing by CTL and NK cells. In July of 2021, she moved to UMass Medical School’s Department of Pathology to start the lab, focused on macrophages as hide outs for pathogens and methods used by these cells to evade killer immune responses.


Paula Grasberger - Graduate Student

Paula is a PhD student in the Clayton lab. After receiving her BSc in Biology from Tufts University, she worked in the lab of Andy Tager at Massachusetts General Hospital studying idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Paula next transitioned to industry and worked in immuno-oncology and targeted oncology at KSQ Therapeutics, before making her way to UMass for her PhD. Her research in the Clayton Lab will focus on identifying and targeting mechanisms of HIV-infected cell resistance to killing by cytotoxic T lymphocytes and NK cells as part of the Martin Delany REACH Collaboratory.When she’s not in the lab, Paula enjoys skiing, climbing, kiteboarding, and competitive sailing. She also likes spending time with her two cats and doing crossword puzzles.


Join the Clayton Lab! - we are actively recruiting for all positions

Research Associate in Immunology

We are currently looking to fill the position of Research Associate I or II, entry level immunologist positions. Research interests include the characterization of human NK cell, CD8+ T cell, and Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell responses to HIV-infected macrophages and identifying pathways involved in perforin/granzyme resistance with the goal of designing therapies to eliminate HIV-infected macrophages. Many of these projects involve collaborations with established labs at various universities and hospitals, including Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, MIT, the Ragon Institute, Boston University, Weill Cornell Medicine, University of Toronto, and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Additional networks with startup and mid-level biotech companies are also established. The ideal candidate for this position would have a background in immunology, virology, and biochemistry, an interest in a career in medical sciences, and experience working in a previous laboratory setting. Training provided would prepare the candidate for graduate school, medical school, or a Research Associate position in industry. Experimental day-to-day work will include working with human samples, making HIV stocks, performing live infections, flow cytometry, molecular cloning, and microscopy. A minimum time commitment of two years will be required. If interested, please send a cover letter and CV to Dr. Kiera Clayton at

Graduate Students - Those interested in graduate school can apply to the University of Massachusetts Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences ( We are currently accepting rotation students staring in the Fall of 2022 and Winter of 2023

Postdoctoral Fellow

We are looking for talented and motivated Postdocs! Available research projects include the identification of pathways that enhance macrophage survival from killer NK and CD8+ T cell interactions (a collaboration with the Weill Cornell REACH Martin Delaney Collaboratory), characterization of NK cells that differentially respond to CD4+ T cells versus macrophages, assessing NK cell interactions with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Ebola virus-infected macrophages (collaborations with MIT/Ragon Institute and Boston University, respectively), enhancement of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) towards HIV-infected macrophages (a collaboration with the University of Miami) and others. Experimental methods related to these projects include HIV infections with primary immune cells, cellular co-culture assays, flow cytometry and FACS analysis, RNA-Seq, CRISPR editing of immune cells, deep sequencing of HIV variants, custom antibody production and purification, and molecular cloning of mutant viruses. The ideal candidate for this position would have a PhD and lab experience in immunology, virology, and biochemistry, and an interest in a career in industry or academia. In addition to laboratory activities, attendance at national/international conferences, contributions towards manuscript preparation and fellowship/grant writing is encouraged. A minimum time commitment of two years will be required. If interested, please send a cover letter and CV to Dr. Kiera Clayton at