Montefiore Einstein Department of Medicine

Department Faculty

Dr. Marla J. Keller, M.D.

Marla J. Keller, M.D.

Professor, Department of Medicine (Infectious Diseases)

Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health

Vice Chair for Research, Department of Medicine

Director, Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research

Areas of Research: HIV and women, vaginal microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV clinical trials, women's health, HIV and herpes prevention, immune responses to COVID-19 infection, COVID-19 clinical trials

Professional Interests

Marla Keller, MD is Professor of Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health.  She is a practicing Infectious Diseases physician with a clinical and research interest in the prevention and treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection in adult and adolescent women.

Dr. Keller graduated from New York University School of Medicine, completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Hospital, and a fellowship in the combined Infectious Disease training program at Beth Israel Hospital and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.  She completed the Clinical Research Training Program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and was a faculty member at Mount Sinai for 9 years before joining the Department of Medicine at Einstein and Montefiore in 2007.

Dr. Keller's NIH-funded research includes the design and conduct of human studies to translate in vitro, murine, and macaque findings to the clinic with the ultimate goal of developing novel preventive strategies to reduce the global burden of HIV and HSV.  She has led the clinical component of several large program project grants to advance development of topical pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) strategies to reduce the sexual transmisssion of HIV and HSV-2.  She has completed first-in-human and Phase 1 safety, pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) studies of novel vaginal microbicide candidates and formulations (gels, tablets, and rings) for PrEP and contraception.  She has also tested laboratory assays to assess biomarkers of microbicide safety and efficacy and to determine effects of candidate products on the vaginal microbiome.  She is currently conducting studies to assess effects of the vaginal microbiome on the PK/PD of antiretrovirals for PrEP.

Dr. Keller is a co-investigator of the Bronx Clinical Research Site of the NIH-funded Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) and Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) Combined Cohort Study (CCS).  Her work with MACS/WIHS-CCS focuses on improving cervical cancer screening practices in women living with HIV infection.

Dr. Keller leads the COVID-19 Treatment Taskforce for the department of medicine to provide guidance on therapeutic management of patients with COVID-19.  She is co-investigator on COVID-19 therapeutic trials and studies to understand immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection in adult and pediatric patients.  

Dr. Keller is a member and a fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) and a member of the HIV Medical Association (HIVMA).  She is a scientific member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents Living with HIV.  She is also a scientific member of the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel which was established in 2020.  She is Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Medicine and Director of the Harold and Muriel Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Einstein and Montefiore, which is funded by a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from NIH.

Selected Publications

Keller MJ, Mesquita PMM, Torres M, Cho S, Shust G, Madan RP, Cohen HW, Petrie J, Ford T, Soto-Torres L, Profy AT, Herold BC.  Postcoital bioavailability and antiviral activity of 0.5% PRO 2000 gel: implications for future microbicide clinical trials.  PLoS One 5:e8781, 2010.

Keller MJ, Madan RP, Torres NM, Fazzari MJ, Cho S, Kalyoussef S, Shust G, Mesquita PMM, Louissaint N, Chen J, Cohen HW, Diament EC, Lee AC, Soto-Torres L, Hendrix CH, Herold BC. A randomized trial to assess anti-HIV activity in female genital tract secretions & soluble mucosal immunity following application of 1% tenofovir gel.  PLoS One, 6:e16475, 2011.

Herold BC, Mesquita PMM, Madan Rp, Keller MJ.  Female genital tract secretions and semen impact the development of microbicides for the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.  American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 65:325-333, 2011.

Keller MJ, Malone AM, Carpenter CA, Lo Y, Huang M, Corey L, Willis R, Nguyen C, Kennedy S, Gunawardana M, Guerrero D, Moss JA, Baum MM, Smith TJ, Herold BC.  Safety and pharmacokinetics of aciclovir in women following release from a silicone elastomer vaginal ring. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 67:2005-12, 2012.

Keller MJ, Burk RD, Xie X, Anastos K, Massad LS, Minkoff H, Xue X, D'Souza G, Watts DH, Levine AM, Castle PE, Colie C, Palefsky JM, Strickler HD.  Risk of cervical precancer and cancer among HIV-infected women with normal cytology and no evidence of oncogenic HPV infection.  JAMA, 308:362-369, 2012. 

Keller MJ, Madan RP, Shust G, Torres NM, Cho S, Khine H, Huang M, Corey L, Kim M, Herold BC.  Changes in the soluble mucosal immune environment during genital herpes outbreaks.  Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 61:194-202, 2012.

Keller MJ, Carpenter CA, Lo Y, Einstein MH, Lu C, Fredricks DN, Herold BC.  Phase I randomized safety study of twice daily dosing of Acidform vaginal gel: candidate antimicrobial contraceptive. PLoS One, 7:e46901, 2012.

Keller MJ, Buckley N, Katzen LL, Walsh J, Friedland B, Littlefield S, Lin J, Xue X, Cornelison T, Herold BC, Einstein MH.  Use of the dye stain assay and ultraviolet light test for assessing vaginal insertion of placebo-filled applicators before and after sex.  Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 40:939-943, 2013 

Herold BC, Keller MJ, Shi Q, Hoover DR, Carpenter CA, Parikh UM, Agnew KJ, Minkoff H, Colie C, Nowicki MJ, D’Souza G, Anastos K.  Plasma and mucosal HIV viral loads are associated with genital tract inflammation in HIV-infected women.  Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 63:485-493, 2013.

Ursell LK, Gunawardana M, Chang S, Mullen M, Moss JA, Herold BC, Keller MJ, McDonald D, Gonzalez A, Knight R, Baum MM.  Comparison of the vaginal microbial communities in women with recurrent genital HSV receiving acyclovir intravaginal rings.  Antiviral Research, 102:87-94, 2014.

Dominguez-Villar M, Gautron A, de Marcken M, Keller MJ, Hafler DA.  TLR7 induces anergy in human CD4(+) T cells.  Nature Immunology, 16:118-128, 2015. 

Keller MJ, Burk RD, Massad LS, Eltoum IE, Hessol NA, Castle PE, Anastos A, Xie X, Minkoff H, Xue X, D’Souza G, Flowers L, Levine AM, Colie C, Rahangdale L, Fischl MA, Palefsky JM, Strickler HD.  Cervical precancer risk in HIV-infected women who test positive for oncogenic human papillomavirus despite a normal Pap test.  Clin Infect Dis, 61:1573-1581, 2015. 

Nakra NA, Madan RP, Buckley N, Huber AM, Freiemuth J, Espinoza L, Walsh J, Parikh UM, Penrose KJ, Keller MJ, Herold BC.  Loss of innate host defense following unprotected vaginal sex.  Journal of Infectious Diseases, 213:840-847, 2016. 

Keller MJ, Mesquita PM, Marzinke MA, Teller R, Espinoza L, Atrio JM, Lo Y, Frank B, Srinivasan S, Fredricks DN, Rabe L, Anderson PL, Hendrix CW, Kiser PF, Herold BC.  A phase 1 randomized placebo-controlled safety and pharmacokinetic trial of a tenofovir disoproxil fumarate vaginal ring.  AIDS, 30:743-751, 2016. 

Keller MJ, McGinn AP, Lo Y, Huber A, Espinoza L, Minkoff H, Colie C, Nowicki MJ, D’Souza G, Anastos K. Longitudinal assessment of systemic and genital tract inflammatory markers and endogenous genital tract E. coli inhibitory activity in HIV-infected and uninfected women.  American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 75:631-42, 2016.

Novetsky AP, Keller MJ, Gradissimo A, Chen Z, Morgan SL, Xue X, Strickler HD, Fernandez-Romero JA, Burk R, Einstein MH.  In vitro inhibition of human papillomavirus following use of a carrageenan-containing vaginal gel.  Gynecologic Oncology, 143:313-18, 2016.

Massad LS, Keller MJ, Xie X, Minkoff H, Palefsky J, D’Souza G, Colie C, Villacres MC, Strickler HD.  Multitype infections with human papillomavirus: impact of HIV coinfection.  Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 43:637-641, 2016.

Robbins HA, Strickler HD, Massad LS, Pierce CB, Darragh TM, Minkoff H, Keller MJ, Fischl M, Burk RD, Palefsky J, Flowers L, Rahangdale L, Milam J, Shrestha S, Colie C, D’Souza G.  Cervical cancer screening intervals and management for women living with HIV: a risk benchmarking approach.  AIDS, 31:1035-1044, 2017.

Mesquita PM, Preston-Hurlburt P, Keller MJ, Vudattu N, Espinoza L, Altrich M, Anastos K, Herold KC, Herold BC.  Role of IL-32 in HIV reactivation and its link to HIV-HSV coinfection.  Journal of Infectious Diseases, 215:614-622, 2017.

Watnick D, Keller MJ, Stein K, Bauman LJ.  Acceptability of a tenofovir disoproxil fumarate vaginal ring for HIV prevention among women in New York City.  AIDS and Behavior, 22:421-436, 2018.

Taneva E, Sinclair S, Mesquita PMM, Weinrick B, Cameron SA, Cheshenko N, Reagle K, Frank B, Keller MJ, Srinivasan S, Fredricks D, Herold BC.  Vaginal microbiome modulates topical antiretroviral drug pharmacokinetics.  JCI Insight 3(13):e99545, 2018.

Keller MJ, Burk RD, Massad LS, Eltoum IE, Hessol NA, Anastos K, Xie X, Minkoff H, Xue X, Reimers LL, Kuniholm M, D’Souza G, Colie C, Palefsky JM, Strickler HD. Racial differences in HPV types among US women with HIV and cervical precancer.  AIDS, 32:2821-2826, 2018.

Murphy K, Keller MJ, Anastos K, Sinclair S, Devlin JC, Shi Q, Hoover DR, Starkman B, McGillick J, Mullis C, Minkoff H, Dominguez-Bello MG, Herold BC. Impact of reproductive aging on the vaginal microbiome and soluble immune mediators in women living with and at-risk for HIV infection.  PLoS One, 14:e0216049, 2019.

 Keller MJ, Huber A, Espinoza L, Serrano MG, Parikh HI, Buck GA, Gold JA, Wu Y, Wang T, Herold BC.  Impact of herpes simplex virus type 2 and human immunodeficiency virus dual infection on female genital tract mucosal immunity and the vaginal microbiome.  Journal of Infectious Diseases, 220:852-861, 2019.

Keller MJ, Wood L, Billingsley JM, Ray LL, Goymer J, Sinclair S, McGinn AP, Marzinke M, Frank B, Srinivasan S, Liu C, Atrio JM, Espinoza L, Mugo NR, Spiegel HML, Anderson PL, Fredricks DN, Hendrix CW, Marrazzo J, Bosinger SE, Herold BC.  Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate intravaginal ring for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis in sexually active women: a phase 1, single-blind, randomized, controlled trial.  Lancet HIV, 6:e498-e508, 2019.

Keller MJ, Kitsis EA, Arora S, Chen JT, Agarwal S, Ross MJ, Tomer Y, Southern W.  Effect of systemic glucocorticoids on mortality or mechanical ventilation in patients with COVID-19.  Journal of Hospital Medicine, 15:489-493, 2020.

Pierce CA, Preston-Hurlburt P, Dai Y, Aschner CB, Cheshenko N, Galen B, Garforth SJ, Herrera NG, Jangra RK, Morano NC, Orner E, Sy S, Chandran K, Dziura J, Almo SC, Ring A, Keller MJ, Herold KC, Herold BC.  Immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection in hospitalized pediatric and adult patients.  Science Translational Medicine, 12(564): eabd5487, 2020.

Strickler HD,Keller MJ, Hessol NA, Eltoum IE, Einstein MH, Castle PE, Massad LS, Flowers L, Rahangdale L, Atrio JM, Ramirez C, Minkoff H, Adimora AA, Ofotokun I, Colie C, Huchko MJ, Fischl M, Wright R, D’Souza G, Leider J, Diaz O, Sanchez-Keeland L, Shrestha S, Xie X, Xue X, Anastos K, Palefsky JM*, Burk RD*.  Primary HPV and molecular cervical cancer screening in US women living with HIV.  Clinical Infectious Diseases, 72:1529-1537, 2021.

Pau AK, Aberg J, Baker J, Belperio PS, Coopersmith C, Crew P, Glidden DV, Grund B, Gulick RM, Harrison C, Kim A, Lane HC, Masur H, Sheikh V, Singh K, Yazdany J, Tebas P.  Convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19: Perspectives of the National Institutes of Health COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel. Annals of Internal Medicine, 174(1):93-95, 2021.

Tomer Y, Gong MN, Keller MJ, Southern W, Kitsis EA, Kajita GR, Shapiro LI, Jariwala S, Epstein EJ.  Teamwork and leadership under fire at the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic in the Bronx.   Frontiers in Medicine, 8:610100, 2021.

Pierce CA, Sy S, Galen B, Goldstein DY, Orner E, Keller MJ, Herold KC, Herold BC.  Natural mucosal barriers and COVID-19 in children. JCI Insight, 6(9):e148694, 2021.

Sultan JS, Wang T, Hunte R, Srinivasan S, McWalters J, Tharp GK, Bosinger SE, Fiedler TL, Atrio JM, Murphy K, Barnett R, Ray LR, Krows ML, Fredricks DN, Irungu E, Ngure K, Mugo N, Marrazzo J, Keller MJ, Herold BC.  Differences in vaginal microbiota, host transcriptome and proteins in women with bacterial vaginosis are associated with metronidazole response.  In press at Journal of Infectious Diseases 2021.   

Kuriakose S, Singh K, Pau AK, Daar E, Gandhi R, Tebas P, Ebavs L, Gulick RM, Lane HC, Masur H.  Developing treatment guidelines during a pandemic health crisis: Lessons learned from COVID-19.  In press at Ann Intern Med, 2021.



More Information About Dr. Marla Keller

Director of Institute for Clinical and Translational Research

Vice Chair for Research, Department of Medicine

Material in this section is provided by individual faculty members who are solely responsible for its accuracy and content.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Block, Room 512
Bronx, NY 10461

Tel: 718.430.3240
Fax: 718.430.8879

Research Information

In the News

A Blood Test May Show Which COVID-19 Patients Steroids Will Help�Or Harm

Marla Keller, M.D., Will Southern, M.D., M.S., and Shitij Arora, M.D., are co-authors on a study that finds a blood test can help physicians determine which hospitalized patients with COVID-19 can benefit from steroids. Dr. Keller is vice chair of research in the department of medicine; Dr. Southern is chief of hospital medicine; and Dr. Arora is associate professor of medicine and a hospitalist at Montefiore.

Additional coverage includes USA Today, LoHud, Fox News, US News & World Report (via HealthDay), Daily Mail, LabPulse

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