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:

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.  

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 >

Emory infectious disease leaders appointed to direct Center for AIDS Research

Emory infectious disease leaders appointed to direct Center for AIDS Research

Featured article in Emory Report
By Catherine Morrow | Woodruff Healtah Sciences Center | January 19, 2021

The Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) at Emory University has announced the appointment of two new co-directors. Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics assumed the role of co-director for basic science and Colleen Kelley, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine assumed the role of co-director for prevention science, effective January 1, 2021.

To these positions, Chahroudi and Kelley bring content area expertise in innovative and translational HIV research that is built on multidisciplinary team science, proven leadership across the university, dedication to mentorship and furthering the next generation of HIV researchers, and highly successful track records in garnering and leading NIH-funded grants and clinical trials. Likewise, both have a long history and commitment to the CFAR, utilizing the Center’s pilot funding mechanism to help kick start impressive HIV research careers at Emory.

“My connection to the Emory CFAR runs deep, as my first research funding as a junior scientist was with the Center, and I am now paying it forward by mentoring a promising junior scientist in her research endeavors. I have been fortunate to live the life of a physician- scientist and, as a result, am well positioned to promote a research agenda for the Emory CFAR that is informed by the realities of the clinic and the possibilities of the bench,” says Chahroudi.

“In my tenure as a CFAR investigator at Emory, I have delightedly watched and contributed to the rapid growth and expansion of the HIV research portfolio in basic science, clinical, public health and all stages of translational research. I am honored to lead the Emory CFAR to continue this growth, but also to innovate new CFAR programs and processes that will ultimately result in improved outcomes for those living with HIV and prevention of new HIV infections,” says Kelley.

Chahroudi has over fifteen years direct involvement in clinical care and research studies focused on viral pathogenesis, transmission, and HIV cure. Her training in immunology, virology and infectious diseases has provided a strong foundation for her current roles as associate division chief for Basic/Translational Research in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Emory School of Medicine, medical director of the pediatric and adolescent HIV clinic of Grady Health System, and director of the Center for Childhood Infections and Vaccines (CCIV) of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University. Her NIH-funded research program aims to discover mechanisms of HIV persistence and test translational cure-directed strategies in nonhuman primate (NHP) models. These investigations have led to significant contributions to the field, including collaborative discoveries of latency reversal described in back-to-back Nature articles in 2020. Chahroudi’s laboratory also has developed a pediatric model of HIV infection to interrogate viral pathogenesis and persistence in infant NHPs to pave the way for novel cure approaches in children.

Kelley has a multidisciplinary background in clinical HIV/STI medicine, HIV/STI epidemiology and clinical outcomes research and laboratory-based research. She practices HIV medicine at the Grady Infectious Disease Program, one of the largest HIV clinics in the Southeast. The primary focus of her laboratory research (based at the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center) is mucosal HIV susceptibility in sexual and gender minority populations with a particular interest in biomedical prevention interventions. Kelley also leads HIV prevention clinical trials for both the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) and the HIV Vaccines Trials Network (HVTN) at the Hope Clinic. She recently expanded her research portfolio in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, now leading the Moderna and Novavax COVID vaccine efficacy trials at the Ponce de Leon Clinical Research Site located at Grady. Kelley previously served as associate director for the Emory CFAR Clinical Research Core where she provided oversight to human subject projects and the Core’s HIV specimen repository.

Chahroudi and Kelley join Carlos del Rio, MD, distinguished professor of medicine, epidemiology and global health and executive associate dean for Emory School of Medicine at Grady Health System, who will remain co-director for clinical science and the CFAR contact PI, in these lead administrative roles. The CFAR leadership team will continue to include as emeritus directors Eric Hunter, PhD, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and James W. Curran, MD, MPH, the James W. Curran Dean of the Rollins School of Public Health. Hunter, former co-director for basic science, and Curran, former co-director for prevention science, will provide mentorship, content area expertise and administrative continuity for the grant.

Both appointments are the result of a multi-year strategic planning and vetting process that began in 2018 and culminated with the CFAR Executive Advisory Council’s recent approval of the change.

For over two decades, the CFAR at Emory has moved forward groundbreaking basic, clinical, and social/behavioral science to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic locally and globally, significantly elevating Emory University’s position as a leader in the field. With this new wave of dynamic leadership, CFAR at Emory University will continue its momentous

Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD
Co-Director for Basic Science

Colleen Kelley, MD, MPH
Co-Director for Prevention Science