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.

TRAINING OPPORTUNITY: NIH T32 Openings for  Post-Doctoral Fellows at Emory University Emory Training Program in HIV Translational Research to End the Epidemic

TRAINING OPPORTUNITY: NIH T32 Openings for Post-Doctoral Fellows at Emory University Emory Training Program in HIV Translational Research to End the Epidemic

Fellow-driven & mentor-supported HIV transla tional research fellowships starting Jan 1, 2022

Are you a PhD, MD, MD/PhD graduate with an int erest in HIV Translational Research? Are you within seven years of your terminal degree? Are y ou 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 th e 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: November 30, 2021
Application Process:

1.  Applicants should identify a potential mentor from the list below arranged by focus area. Applicants mustcontact the potential mentor to see if the mentor is accepting new fellows through the Emory HIV T32 program.Applicants should include their CV and a brief description of the area of mutual interest.

2.  Potential candidates should complete an HIV T32 Interest Form to initiate discussion with the faculty ProgramDirector (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

3.  Approval to apply must be obtained prior to November 15, 2021. Candidates are encouraged to apply aftermentor and program reviews are complete and approval is given.

To apply, submit an application package including the following documents as a single PDF via email to cfaradmin@emory.edu by 5 PM EST on November 30, 2021:

  • Cover letter specifying focus area of interest with statement of future goals for a career in HIV research. Applicantshould 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 (includinggraphs/figures but not references);
  • MD applicants from clinical departments must also provide a letter from the applicant’s Department/DivisionChair, indicating departmental commitment to provide at least 75% protected time for the trainee applicant todevote to the proposed research project. This letter can be same as the required letter of support from one otherscientist, described above.
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.

Welcome to New Center for AIDS Research at Emory Core Leadership

Welcome to New Center for AIDS Research at Emory Core Leadership

Please join the CFAR Co-Directors, Ann Chahroudi, Carlos del Rio, and Colleen Kelley, in congratulating newly named CFAR Core Directors and Associate Directors! They join Kimbi Hagen, Bob Lyles, Kirk Easley, Igho Ofotokun, Vince Marconi, Paul Johnson, John Altman, Hannah Cooper, Patrick Sullivan, Natalie Crawford, Aaron Siegler, Guido Silvestri, Vandy Vanderford, Colleen Kraft, and Maud Mavigner who continue as Core leaders.

The CFAR Leadership and Emeriti Directors evaluated candidates to select the leadership for the Cores, and they invite you to review the attached document that includes brief bios for each of them. These individuals were selected based on their outstanding contributions to HIV Science, leadership experience and potential, and commitment to mentoring and supporting the next generation of HIV researchers.

We are grateful to each of them for their commitment to the CFAR, and we look forward to working together to ensure that we meet the needs of CFAR Members and strive to achieve the CFAR mission: to contribute to ending the HIV epidemic by accelerating the highest caliber translational research — fostering team science, equity, and multidirectional stakeholder engagement.

Developmental Core

Rama Amara, PhD

Co‐Director, Developmental Core

Drenna Waldrop, PhD

Co‐Director, Developmental Core

Kimbi Hagen, EdD

Associate Director, Developmental Core

Clinical Research Core

Vincent Marconi, MD

Co‐Director, Clinical Research Core

Igho Ofotokun, MD, MSc

Co-Director, Clinical Research Core

Andres Camacho‐Gonzalez, MD, MSc

Associate Director, Clinical Research Core

Anandi Sheth, MD, MSc

Associate Director, Clinical Research Core

Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core

Robert H. Lyles, PhD

Director, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core

Kirk A. Easley, MS, MApStat

Associate Director, Biostatics and Bioinformatics Core

David Benkeser, PhD, MPH

Associate Director, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core

Yijuan Hu, PhD

Associate Director, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core

Prevention and Implementation Sciences Core

Hannah Cooper, ScD

Co-Director, Prevention and Implementation Sciences Core

Patrick Sullivan, DVM, PhD

Co-Director, Prevention and Implementation Sciences Core

Natalie Crawford, MPH, PhD

Associate Director, Prevention and Implementation Sciences Core

Jessica Sales, PhD, MA

Associate Director, Prevention and Implementation Sciences Core

Aaron Siegler, PhD, MHS

Associate Director, Prevention and Implementation Sciences Core

Systems Immunology Core

R. Paul Johnson, MD

Director, Systems Immunology Core

John Altman, PhD

Associate Director, System Immunology Core

Steven Bosinger, PhD

Associate Director, Systems Immunology Core

Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, PhD

Associate Director, Systems Immunology Core

Virology & Molecular Biomarkers Core

Guido Silvestri, MD

Director, Virology and Molecular Biomarkers Core

Deanna Kulpa, PhD

Associate Director, Virology & Molecular Biomarkers Core

Thomas H. Vanderford, PhD

Director, Translational Virology Unit

Colleen S. Kraft, MD, MSc

Director, Clinical Virology Unit

Maud Mavigner, PhD

Director, Viral Reservoirs Unit

download .pdf with all director bios >

LEEP more effectively clears high-risk HPV in HIV+ women

LEEP more effectively clears high-risk HPV in HIV+ women

Featured article in Emory Report
By Shannon McCaffrey | Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Aug. 25, 2021

A new study published in JAMA Oncology by Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s Michael H. Chung, MD, MPH, and colleagues, finds that loop electrosurgical procedure (LEEP) is more effective than cryotherapy in clearing high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) in women living with HIV. Chung is a professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, and a professor of global health and epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health.

The study drew upon data for 354 HIV-infected women recruited from the Coptic Hope Center for Infectious Diseases in Nairobi, Kenya—which Chung cofounded. It set out to determine which modality is more effective at clearing hrHPV, and whether persistent hrHPV is associated with recurrent cervical cancer.

Half the women were randomly assigned to receive cryotherapy and the other half to receive LEEP.

The women were followed every six months for two years with hrHPV cervical swab and Pap tests. Persistent hrHPV detection was associated with a substantially greater risk of recurrent cervical cancer even after controlling for immune status, HIV viral suppression, and type of intervention. Over the 24 months, significantly more women treated with LEEP cleared the hrHPV than those treated with cryotherapy. LEEP was also better at preventing recurrent cervical cancer.

“Our study showed that when treating pre-cancerous cervical lesions in HIV-infected women, LEEP should be the preferred option instead of cryotherapy,” said Chung. “In addition, HPV testing for HIV-infected women is reasonable to do to determine whether the treatment has been successful and can be done as early as 6 months after the intervention.”

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is associated with cervical cancer in women and genital warts in both women and men. Women living with HIV who also have certain types of cancer-causing HPV are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer, one of the illnesses that define advanced untreated HIV disease, or AIDS.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer among women worldwide, and the most common cause of cancer death among women in sub-Saharan Africa. Women living with HIV have a higher rate of hrHPV than the general population, and are more likely to have persistent hrHPV infection leading to cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), abnormal growth of cells on the surface of the cervix that can potentially lead to cervical cancer.

It’s helpful to understand hrHPV and HIV coinfection to determine the usefulness of hrHPV testing to prevent cervical cancer among women living with HIV. The World Health Organization (WHO) and many national guidelines recommend testing for hrHPV as a primary cervical cancer screening tool in both high-income, middle- and low-income countries. Testing for hrHPV also is used to screen for recurrent disease after treatment for precancerous cervical lesions, and to help define the frequency and duration of follow-up.

Women in high-income countries with CIN grade 2 and higher are often treated with LEEP, which excises the lesions and surrounding tissue. In low- and middle-income countries, inexpensive and less technically complex cryotherapy is used to freeze the area around the lesion. Neither approach completely treats CIN or clears hrHPV infection, particularly for HIV-positive women. This is why it was important to compare LEEP and cryotherapy outcomes, and to determine whether one or the other is most effective at clearing cervical hrHPV infection, as well as whether persistent hrHPV is associated with recurrent CIN.

“Current clinical practice to treat pre-cancerous cervical lesions in LMIC’s [low- and middle-income countries] largely rests on using cryotherapy,” said Chung, “which is easier and less expensive to administer than LEEP. Clinical practice in LMIC should try to prioritize LEEP over cryotherapy when treating HIV-infected women to achieve the best clinical outcomes.”

Grant support was provided by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under cooperative agreements GH002036 and GH002001.

Other collaborators involved in this study are from the University of Washington, Seattle; Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; International Agency for Research on Cancer/World Health Organization, Lyon, France; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Coptic Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya; and Aga Khan University, Nairobi, Kenya.

Photo:  Michael H. Chung, MD, MPH co-founded the Coptic Hope Center for Infectious Diseases in Nairobi, Kenya, from which 354 HIV-infected women were recruited for the study. Photo: Paul Brown, University of Washington

NIH awards Emory and partners $27.6M for pediatric HIV cure research

NIH awards Emory and partners $27.6M for pediatric HIV cure research

Featured article in Emory Report
By Jill Wu | Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Aug. 20, 2021

Emory University and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center will share with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in a five-year, $27.6 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to accelerate the search for a cure for HIV in children and adolescents.

The Pediatric Adolescent Virus Elimination (PAVE) Collaboratory is using a multidisciplinary, multicultural and iterative approach to study pediatric HIV. The $5.7 million annual grant is part of the Martin Delaney Collaboratories (MDC) for HIV Cure Research program.

Co-principal investigator Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD, is an infectious disease specialist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, director of the Center for Childhood Infections and Vaccines and associate professor of pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine. She is also a researcher with the Yerkes Microbiology and Immunology Division. The co-lead is Deborah Persaud, MD, a virologist and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. PAVE will collaborate with 36 U.S. and internationally based co-investigators.

Around the globe, an estimated 1.7 million children under age 15 are living with HIV, and there are about five million adolescents and young adults aged 15-25 who have HIV. Additionally, about 150,000 children a year are born infected with HIV.

“Despite remarkable advances in the prevention and treatment of HIV, it remains an epidemic for millions of children and adolescents who live with the virus every day,” says Chahroudi. “The mission of our collaboratory is more than treating HIV in children, it’s to find a cure, which will improve millions of lives worldwide.”

The PAVE Collaboratory aims to identify and harness the unique immunovirological features of HIV infection in children and adolescents. Working with pediatric nonhuman primate models, PAVE team members will conduct preclinical safety and effectiveness research studies of novel treatments. The collaboratory will also focus on developing procedures, tools and techniques, including imaging, specifically for infants, children and adolescents.

Ann Chahroudi

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