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Assistant Clinical Professor, Infectious Diseases
Millions of people continue to live with HIV/AIDS and are part of the global epidemic. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can suppress but not cure HIV infection, mainly because of the persistence of infected cells. These cells arise from the ability of HIV to integrate its viral genome into the host cell’s chromosomes and remain quiescent and elude the immune system. This reservoir of latently infected cells is the most formidable obstacle to curing HIV. Our research interests focus on developing approaches to eliminating latently infected cells. One approach is to use a “kick and kill” strategy, in which latent cells are induced to produce viral proteins by a latency reversing agent. However, latency reversing agents by themselves may not be able to eliminate the viral reservoir, thus we have also been developing effector immune cells supercharged to rapidly kill infected cells as they emerge from latency. We have extensive experience in developing humanized mouse models of HIV infection. In addition, we utilize virus barcoding technology in order to track and quantify viral and cellular clones of the viral reservoir by deep sequencing. Our overall goal is to deliver effective therapies for HIV eradication and advance toward clinical evaluation.