Collaborators awarded $3.7 million for HIV/AIDS research
(December 13, 2012) — Pam Skinner, PhD, associate professor in the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department, and longtime collaborator Liz Connick, MD, professor in the University of Colorado School of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases, have been awarded a five-year research grant totaling more than $3.7 million from the National Institutes of Health. Ultimately, the research could contribute to the development of a protective vaccine or cure for HIV-1, the most common and pathogenic strain of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS.
“We are very excited, as our proposal was among some very competitive HIV/AIDS proposals, and scored in the third percentile,” Skinner says. “In a nutshell, we have found that HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected cells are concentrated in lymphoid tissues within B cell follicles, whereas HIV/SIV-specific CD8 T cells—whose job it is to track down and kill virus-infected cells—are concentrated outside of B cell follicles and are unable to clear the reservoir of virus-producing cells inside of B cell follicles.”
The research will set out to determine mechanisms underlying HIV/SIV concentrating inside of B cell follicles and provide a wealth of new information on the cells that foster HIV-1 replication in B cell follicles. Factors that may promote or impair lentivirus replication will also be explored.
The project, titled “Mechanisms Underlying Persistent Lentivirus Replication in Follicular T Cells,” started December 1 and will continue for five years.
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