Call for Applications for the Emory Training Program in HIV Translational Research to End the Epidemic

Call for Applications for the Emory Training Program in HIV Translational Research to End the Epidemic

TRAINING OPPORTUNITY: Fellow-driven & mentor-supported HIV translational research fellowships at Emory University

Are you a PhD, MD, MD/PhD graduate with an interest in HIV Translational Research? Are you within seven years of your terminal degree? Are you a U.S. Citizen or Naturalized (Green Card) U.S. Citizen? Can you devote two years to training?

All trainees must commit full-time effort to the program and its related research activities.

Eligible Areas of HIV Research

  • Laboratory-based science, vaccine, and cure research
  • Patient-centered clinical research
  • Public health and implementation science

Trainees will gain expertise in cross-cutting areas ofscience and translation to the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative

HIV T32 Program Trainees will Receive:

  • Annual stipend at appropriate NIH-specifiedlevel based on years of postdoc experience
  • Travel & childcare allotments; research supplies
  • Tuition support for formal didactic training intranslational research (MSCR, CPTR, or selectedgraduate level courses)
  • Hands-on translational research rotation

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: April 15, 2022

Application Process:

1. Potential candidates should complete an HIV T32 Interest Form to initiate discussion with the faculty Program Director (PD) in the target area of interest regarding the candidate application: https://bit.ly/EmoryHIVT32

a. Laboratory-based basic science, vaccine, and cure research: Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD
b. Patient-centered clinical research: Colleen Kelley, MD, MPH
c. Public health and implementation science: Patrick Sullivan, DVM, PhD

2. Applicants will identify potential mentor(s) from the list below during the discussion with the faculty PD. The PD will then contact the mentor(s) suggested to confirm willingness to meet with the applicant.

3.  The Program Coordinator will then connect applicants and potential mentors. It is up to the applicant/mentor to meet and mutually decide the best fit. Once the mentor has agreed to support the trainee throughout the duration of the appointment, the applicant must notify the Program Coordinator via email of final decision.

4.  Approval to apply should be obtained prior to April 1, 2022. Candidates are encouraged to apply after mentor and program reviews are

To apply, submit an application package including the following documents as a single PDF via email to deaunna.thomas@emory.edu by 5 PM EST on April 15, 2022:

  • Cover letter specifying focus area of interest with statement of future goals for a career in HIV research. Applicants should include personal qualifications for the fellowship and what they hope to gain from the fellowship;
  • Current CV or NIH biosketch;
  • A letter of support from the proposed HIV T32 mentor;
  • Letter(s) of support from one other scientist (e.g. recent supervisor, mentor, or a collaborator);
  • A two-page description of the proposed research project and proposed didactic training plan (including graphs/figures but not references);
  • MD applicants from clinical departments must also provide a letter from the applicant’s Department/Division Chair, indicating departmental commitment to provide at least 75% protected time for the trainee applicant to devote to the proposed research project. This letter can be same as the required letter of support from one other scientist, described above.
Emory CFAR at Virtual CROI 2022

Emory CFAR at Virtual CROI 2022

Strong Showing by Emory University at CROI 2022

Emory University is well-represented at the Virtual CROI 2022 conference with 33 presentations — 8 talks (two of which are invited) and 25 posters — featuring Emory faculty, students, and staff.  Please use the spreadsheet below as guides to support your fellow Emory CFAR Members by tuning in for their sessions and Q&A.  We also invite you to follow along with us on Twitter (@EmoryCFAR) for daily tweets featuring Emory CFAR Member presentations!

We are pleased to highlight 10 Emory CFAR Members who received prestigious New Investigator Scholarships this year.  Join us in congratulating:

  1. Brady Bennett
  2. Sakthivel Govindaraj
  3. Timothy Hoang
  4. Christina Mallarino-Haeger
  5. Aditi Ramakrishnan
  6. Maura Statzu
  7. Boghuma Titanji
  8. Vanessa Van Doren
  9. Elise Viox
  10. Bhrugu Yagnik

On behalf of the Emory CFAR, congratulations to all of you who are representing Emory at virtual #CROI2022!

2022 Greeting from the Emory CFAR Co-Directors

2022 Greeting from the Emory CFAR Co-Directors

Happy New Year from the Emory CFAR!

On behalf of the Emory CFAR leadership team, we hope the new year is off to a great start for you!  We are both hopeful for what 2022 will bring to the local HIV research community and energized by a very productive last year for the Emory CFAR. Let’s take a minute to reflect on a few successes from 2021:

WELCOMED NEW LEADERSHIP THROUGHOUT THE CFAR 
In January 2021, we welcomed Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD and Colleen Kelley, MD, MPH to the Emory CFAR senior leadership team. Chahroudi was appointed as the Co-Director for Basic Science, and Kelley was appointed as the Co-Director for Prevention Science. This change was the first in our Emory CFAR strategic succession plan to identify and mentor the next generation of HIV research leaders, increase diversity across the CFAR, and bring new voices to the table to push science forward.  Read the Emory press release for details. That momentum continued in August 2021 when new leadership joined our Developmental Core and all five science Cores. Learn more about these changes here.  In October 2021, we launched two new CFAR Scientific Working Groups (SWGs) – the Health Equity SWG and Next Generation Therapeutics SWG.  For the first time in the history of the CFAR, the leadership of the Health Equity SWG includes an Emory investigator (Sophia Hussen, MD, MPH), a Morehouse School of Medicine investigator (Rhonda Holliday, PhD, MA), and a community advocate (Alphonso Mills, BA). To learn about the SWGs and their top-notch leadership teams, click here.

SUBMITTED A STRONG NIH CFAR COMPETITIVE RENEWAL APPLICATION
In July 2021, we submitted our fifth NIH CFAR competitive renewal application (in total 1,045 pages!). This milestone reflects months of preparation, collaboration, innovation, and late nights of work from Emory CFAR leaders and staff. We are pleased to announce that our application was reviewed very favorably in December and that we received an outstanding priority score. In particular, reviewers applauded our forward-thinking succession plans, the breadth and volume of science supported through our Cores, the productivity of our early- and mid-career investigators as demonstrated through the return on our Developmental Core pilot program ($2.47M CFAR investment resulting in a $42.7M NIH return), the CFAR’s strong institutional support, and a robust partnership between the CFAR and the local community, spearheaded by our Community Liaison Council.

WITNESSED HIV RESEARCH CONTINUE TO GROW AT EMORY
Since we submitted our first CFAR application in 1997, NIH-funded HIV research at Emory has grown leaps and bounds.  In FY97 we had a little over $8 million dollars of NIH-funded HIV research. We recently learned that for FY21, Emory investigators received over $73 million dollars in HIV research from NIH! This incredible growth placed Emory as one of the top six research universities in total HIV research dollars received from NIH.  Serving as the cornerstone of Emory University’s transdisciplinary HIV research community, the CFAR provided scientific leadership and critical services to nearly 440 investigators over the last five years.

SUPPORTED THE LAUNCH OF MAJOR NEW HIV RESEARCH EFFORTS AT EMORY
In 2021, the CFAR was proud to support the launch of two new HIV research programs at Emory.  The first program is the NIH-funded Martin Delaney Collaboratories (MDC) for HIV Cure Research.  Emory CFAR Members, Deanna Kulpa, PhD, Mirko Paiardini, PhD, and Guido Silvestri, MD were awarded the first Emory-based MDC – The Enterprise for Research and Advocacy to Stop and Eradicate HIV (ERASE HIV).  Likewise, Emory CFAR Co-Director, Ann Chahroudi and colleagues at Johns Hopkins launched the first pediatric research-focused MDC – the Pediatric Adolescent Virus Elimination (PAVE) Collaboratory.  Emory CFAR Systems Immunology Core Associate Director, Rafick Pierre Sékaly, PhD will co-lead the new Sanford Burnham Prebys-based Reversing Immune Dysfunction (RID) for HIV-1 Eradication.  Silvestri also co-leads the UNC-Chapel Hill-based Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication (CARE) MDC which was first funded in 2011.  Learn more about these four MDCs here and here.

Last year, we announced the first HIV-focused NIH T32 post-doctoral training program at Emory – the Emory Training Program in HIV Translational Research to End the Epidemic.  This exciting new initiative is led by Emory CFAR Co-Directors, Ann Chahroudi and Colleen Kelley and CFAR Prevention & Implementation Sciences Core Co-Director, Patrick Sullivan, DVM, PhD.  Trainees will choose from one of three research tracks (basic, clinical, or implementation science), gaining expertise in cross-cutting areas of science and translation to the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative.  Learn more about the program here, and be on the lookout for an announcement for the next application cycle!

FACILITATED COVID-19 RESEARCH AT EMORY
Lastly, we were honored to provide key CFAR services and support to Emory investigators who are leading the way in the response to COVID-19.  As of July 2021, Emory investigators published 1,037 COVID-related research papers with 24 citing the CFAR grant including studies that describe the impact of COVID-19 among people living with or at risk for HIV. Emory CFAR Members leveraged our infrastructure and Cores to lead the response to this public health emergency, garnering >$88M in federal grants (~20% of Emory’s FY20 NIH funding).

Thank you all for your support over the last year!  We look forward to working together in 2022 to contribute to ending the HIV epidemic by accelerating the highest caliber translational research — fostering team science, equity, and multidirectional stakeholder engagement.  

CFAR at Emory Newly Established Scientific Working Groups Leadership Announcement

CFAR at Emory Newly Established Scientific Working Groups Leadership Announcement

Health Equity Scientific Working Group

The central purpose of the Health Equity Scientific Working Group (SWG) is to expand NIH-funded community-engaged research to promote health equity at Emory in collaboration with Morehouse School of Medicine (SOM) and community stakeholders in the Atlanta area. Activities will include hosting research proposal feedback sessions, quarterly seminars, networking events, and/or career development sessions as opportunities for CFAR Members, Morehouse faculty, and community partners to interact; and pilot test several mentoring mechanisms focused on developing underrepresented minority investigators. 

Rhonda Conerly Holliday, PhD, MA
Co‐Director, Health Equity SWG
Dr. Holliday (Rhonda) is an Associate Professor of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine. She is a public health researcher with a background in developmental psychology. Rhonda has extensive expertise in Community Based Participatory Research (CPBR), health equity, and health communications. Her topical areas of interest include HIV prevention among adolescents and emerging adults, including college students and justice-involved individuals. She is the PI for the core research project for the Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center (U48DP006411), focusing on implementing a CBPR approach to HIV prevention on the campuses of HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions. Importantly for this SWG, she has published not only on the results of her CBPR projects, but also on the methods and lessons learned in developing and executing community-academic partnerships.

Sophia Hussen, MD, MPH
Co‐Director, Health Equity SWG
Dr. Hussen (Sophia) is an Associate Professor of Global Health in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University with a joint appointment in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Emory University School of Medicine. Sophia is an infectious diseases physician and public health scientist who conducts research related to improving HIV and mental health outcomes for youth living with HIV, with a particular focus on young Black gay and bisexual men. She has recently completed a CDC-funded pilot trial of a CBPR-developed intervention to enhance social capital among young Black gay and bisexual men living with HIV, and she is also incorporating participatory methodologies into ongoing NIH-funded intervention development grants (R34MH124638; R34 MH116805) and exploratory mixed methods work (R21MH121164). Sophia also leads community engagement efforts within the Emory Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) and the Atlanta site of the MACS/WIHS CCS.

Alphonso Mills, BA
Co‐Director, Health Equity SWG
Mr. Mills (Alphonso) is a community health worker at Positive Impact Health Centers (PIHC), a large Atlanta community-based organization focusing on infectious diseases care, mental health care, substance use treatment, and other support services for people living with and at risk for HIV. Alphonso, who is openly living with HIV, has developed a strong track record of both professional and personal advocacy in the local Atlanta community. He is a 2020 graduate of Morehouse College, where he majored in psychology. He has also served on a Community Advisory Board for several of Dr. Hussen’s research projects since 2017. Due to the sum of his professional, research-related, and personal experiences over the last five years, Alphonso has extensive community connections with key organizations and individuals working in the HIV field in Atlanta. He also has experience with CBPR and other research as a participant, research assistant, and advisor.

Next Generation Therapeutics Scientific Working Group

The Next Generation Therapeutics Scientific Working Group (SWG) seeks to catalyze opportunities for team science within and across Emory CFAR institutions to set the foundation for future exploration and development of (i) novel approaches for viral suppression in people living with HIV using combinations of therapeutics that overcome drug resistance associated with current ART and are delivered as formulations designed to facilitate their long-term release; and (ii) immune-based strategies, focusing on those FDA-approved for other diseases, aimed at targeting and limiting HIV residual disease and HIV reservoirs. Activities will include hosting research proposal feedback sessions, educational, networking events, and/or career development sessions as opportunities for CFAR Members, CDC staff, and Georgia Tech and Morehouse School of Medicine faculty to interact; provide structured mentoring for Early-Stage Investigators in the field to ensure a robust scientific future; and promote multi-investigator applications to the CFAR Developmental Core and ultimately to the NIH.

Stefan G. Sarafianos, PhD
Co‐Director, Next Generation Therapeutics SWG
Dr. Sarafianos (Stefan) is the Nahmias-Schinazi Chair, Professor, and Associate Director of the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology (LOBP) Division in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory. He studies viral replication at the molecular level, its inhibition, drug resistance, and the development of drugs that will treat human disease by novel mechanisms of action. Stefan has worked in retroviral structural biology, biochemistry, and virology since 1993 and has published more than 170 manuscripts. In early biochemical work he identified the HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) active site residues that are involved in dNTP, DNA, and PPi binding prior to any crystallographic information. His lab has had extensive contributions in the development of potent inhibitors that act by novel mechanisms of action including EFdA (islatravir), currently in Phase III clinical trials (for which he was recently awarded an NIH MERIT award) and in characterizing their mechanisms of inhibition and resistance. Stefan has worked in the HIV capsid field for several years now, and his lab was the first to solve the elusive crystal structure of the native (uncrosslinked) hexameric HIV capsid protein (CA) in apo form and in complex with CA-targeting antiviral PF74 (Science, 2015). This set of structures provided the framework for studies in which 45 crystal structures of the native CA hexamer were solved with mutations that affect capsid stability, and in complexes with host factor peptides and CA-targeting antivirals. Extensive biophysical and virological characterization revealed compounds with proprietary compounds that improved potency, resistance profiles, and metabolic stability compared to PF74. Some compounds can inhibit clinically-relevant PF74- and GS-6207-resistant HIV-1 strains.

Mirko Paiardini, PhD
Co-Director, Next Generation Therapeutics SWG
Dr. Paiardini (Mirko) is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory and a Researcher at Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the Emory Vaccine Center. For almost 20 years, Mirko has been involved in studies of AIDS pathogenesis in both HIV-infected individuals and in the models of SIV infection in rhesus macaques (RMs). Mirko gained extensive experience with in vivo studies of SIV infection of RMs in which virus replication is suppressed by a potent ART regimen, thus validating this model for studies of HIV cure. He led several studies in which in vivo immune interventions have been conducted in ART-suppressed SIV-infected RMs, aimed at reducing, and possibly eliminating, immune dysfunctions and HIV persistence in people living with HIV, including treatment with IL-21, IL-15 agonist, fingolimod, as well as blockade of PD-1, CTLA-4, and IL-10. More recently, his laboratory developed the NHP model of SARS-CoV-2 infection to test the therapeutic potential of baricitinib. He directs several NIH-funded studies of HIV immunology, pathogenesis, and persistence. He is the principal investigator of ERASE (Enterprise for Research and Advocacy to Stop and Eradicate) HIV, which is an NIH-funded international collaboratory aimed at developing therapeutic interventions to cure HIV infection.

Susan Pereira Ribeiro, PhD
Associate Director, Next Generation Therapeutics SWG
Dr. Ribeiro (Susan) is an Assistant Professor of Translational Medicine in the Department of Pathology at Emory University. She is an immunologist with experience in multi-omics approaches and with expertise in the development of cellular and immune assays and sophisticated flow cytometry models. Susan has focused in pathogenesis, progression and responses to immune therapy in order to discriminate mechanisms that leads to different outcomes in different individuals (Ex. Responders and Non-responders to immune therapy). She has experience with the cellular and molecular aspects of HIV immune pathogenesis and immunotherapies, focused on HIV reservoir evaluation, immune-phenotyping, and also vaccine development/response assessment, and in vitro efficacy of HIV-CAR T cells. Most recently her research has focused on understanding the mechanisms of HIV reservoir maintenance and the absence of CD4 T cell recovery in HIV infected subjects that show different clinical outcomes .

James Kohler, PhD
Associate Director, Next Generation Therapeutics SWG
Dr. Kohler (James) is an Assistant Professor Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology Division in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory. James has expertise in mucosal immunology, mouse transgenic models, pathogenesis (cardiac and renal) and toxicity models for HIV and antiviral therapies for human viral infections. His past training and research experience have included development and use of murine models to measure induction of mucosal immunity, signal transduction pathways associated in immune targets of HIV-1, tissue-specific antiretroviral toxicity, and HIV-1 cell-tropism and mutagenesis. James provides mentorship and co-leads the HIV Division of the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology (Schinazi Lab). He previously served as Associate Director of the Emory CFAR HIV Cure SWG, now the HIV Cure Research Cluster.

A cure for HIV: Emory receives $23.8 million NIH grant to accelerate research

A cure for HIV: Emory receives $23.8 million NIH grant to accelerate research

Featured article in Emory Report
By Jill Wu and Lisa Newbern | Woodruff Health Sciences Center | September 9, 2021

An Emory University-led research collaboration has been awarded a five-year, $23.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fast-track research to cure HIV infection or put it in permanent remission.

The Enterprise for Research and Advocacy to Stop and Eradicate HIV (ERASE HIV) is one of the 10 newly NIH-funded Martin Delaney Collaboratories for HIV Cure and the only one researchers at a National Primate Research Center (NPRC) are leading.

The Emory/Yerkes NPRC study leaders are Deanna Kulpa, PhD; Mirko Paiardini, PhD; and Guido Silvestri, MD. These leaders and their team members are renowned for their HIV cure research. As part of ERASE HIV, they will characterize the key immune system functions that control persistent HIV infection and design innovative, immune-based therapies to eliminate or control the virus in the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Kulpa is a Yerkes researcher and assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the Emory School of Medicine (SOM). Paiardini is contact principal investigator for ERASE HIV and also a Yerkes researcher and Emory SOM professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. Silvestri is Yerkes division chief of microbiology and immunology, Emory SOM professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar.

“It’s been 40 years since the first case of what we now know as HIV/AIDS was reported in the United States,” says Paiardini. “Since then, more than 700,000 people in America have died from HIV-related illness, and a similar number died worldwide just in the last year. Our work and the work of the other Martin Delaney Collaboratories will bring us closer to a cure, a goal now regarded as possible based on recent research advancements and the continuing dedication of HIV/AIDS researchers and advocates.

“HIV cure research is also important for increasing overall understanding of the immune system,” Paiardini continues. “This knowledge will help us develop immunological-based therapies that could provide additional treatment options for other infectious diseases as well as cancer.”

While ART has been successful in reducing HIV to undetectable levels and halting the progression to AIDS, the treatment does not eliminate HIV. The virus hides in the body and rebounds when people with HIV stop taking ART. 

“Antiretroviral therapy has literally been a lifesaver for millions of people living with HIV around the world, but our work is not finished,” says Kulpa. “This NIH funding gives us the opportunity to build on Emory’s eminence as a worldwide leader in HIV/AIDS research and to assemble an incredible team of researchers and community advocates for the ERASE HIV Collaboratory. 

“We are fortunate to work with SisterLove, Inc., the first women’s HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice organization in the Southeastern United States,” Kulpa adds. “The Atlanta-based organization leads community-based initiatives in HIV prevention, treatment and care, and will be instrumental in sharing ERASE HIV research advancements with all those SisterLove educates, inspires and serves.”

In addition to ERASE HIV, the Emory/Yerkes researchers also hold leading roles in three other newly awarded Martin Delaney Collaboratories:

  • Pediatric Adolescent Virus Elimination (PAVE), co-led by Emory and Johns Hopkins University, and the only collaboratory focusing on curing pediatric HIV. Learn more about PAVE here.
  • Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication (CARE), led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This collaboratory, one of the two original Martin Delaney Collaboratory programs, will work with academic scientists and clinicians, industry investigators and the community to better understand persistent HIV infection and discover novel approaches to disrupt HIV latency, methods to clear the HIV reservoir and strategies to control viral rebound. Silvestri is co-leading this collaboratory, and PAVE co-lead Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD, is a co-investigator.
  • Reversing Immune Dysfunction for HIV-1 Eradication (RID), led by Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. The RID-HIV Collaboratory brings together leading university scientists from more than 10 academic institutions as well as Merck Research Laboratories and community members to understand the molecular and cellular basis for the loss of immune stability and function in people who are infected with HIV. The research team will harness this information to create immune-restoring treatment options, enhance viral reactivation and elimination strategies, and evaluate effectiveness in nonhuman primate models. These are all critical components of developing an HIV-1 cure. Rafick Sekaly, PhD, is co-leading this collaboratory. He is vice chair of translational medicine at Emory SOM and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. Paiardini is leading the Yerkes work for this collaboratory.

Emory, which is also home to the Emory Vaccine Center and the Center for AIDS Research, is recognized for developing HIV vaccine candidates and better treatments, such as Emtriva, which more than 90 percent of U.S. patients who have HIV take.

The Martin Delaney Collaboratories are funded by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Mental Health as well as the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The collaboratory program was launched in 2010 in honor of the late HIV/AIDS activist Martin Delaney, who served on NIAID’s AIDS Research Advisory Committee. The goal of the program is to expedite HIV cure research by bringing together researchers from multiple academic institutions, as well as the private sector, community and government partners to share common resources, data and methodologies. Together, collaborators will coordinate complex research studies and mentor the next generation of HIV cure researchers. 

The NIH award number for the ERASE HIV Collaboratory is 1UM1AI164562-01.

The Emory/Yerkes NPRC study leaders are (left to right) Deanna Kulpa, PhD; Guido Silvestri, MD; and Mirko Paiardini, PhD.

X