Virology

Biological Products

We perform multi-scale production (30ml to 30L per batch), chemical inactivation treatment (if desired), purification, and associated quality control analyses of retroviruses and related control reagents (microvesicles) that are used as vaccine immunogens for animal studies and as key reagents for various in vitro studies. Fluorescently labeled retrovirus and microvesicle preparations can also be prepared. The BPC also prepares and distributes antigen capture immunoassay kits for the cost effective measurement of HIV p24 antigen from in vitro samples.

Viral Evolution

We provide access to cutting edge sequence based analysis, including both single genome amplification sequencing techniques and high throughput pyrosequencing technology, coupled with genetic analyses. These approaches are useful for characterization of virus stocks used for NHP studies, for evaluation of virus during transmission and subsequent evolution, and for efficacy assessment of various intervention modalities.

Retroviral Immunology

The Retroviral Immunology Section studies cellular immune responses to retroviral infection and is exploring the potential of adoptively transferred T lymphocytes in controlling retroviral replication in vivo, using NHP models.

Due to the recent death of Dr. Ohlen, inquiries should be made to Dr. David Ott or Dr. Jeff Lifson.

Retroviral Pathogenesis

The Retrovirology Pathogenesis Section studies various aspects of retroviral pathogenesis, ranging from in vitro analyses of virus interactions with immune system cells to in vivo studies of retroviral pathogenesis in NHP, including characterization of basic pathogenetic mechanisms and evaluation of novel treatment and prevention modalities. In vivo experiments include efforts to develop improved NHP models for vaccine evaluation and testing of antiretroviral drug treatment and strategies for targeting residual virus and latent reservoirs.

Retroviral Protein Chemistry

We maintain a cutting edge capability for detailed analysis of viral proteins and host cell proteins associated with retroviruses, continuing to refine analytical methods such as microscale HPLC fractionation and sensitive sequence and mass spectrometry based analysis of viral and host cell proteins from highly purified preparations of retroviruses.

Viral Oncology

The Viral Oncology Section conducts international molecular and serological epidemiologic studies of infection with KSHV and other viruses, including international projects with a local presence at the Medical Research Council's Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, Uganda, along with basic studies of KSHV biology, with a recent emphasis on the role of miRNA.

Cellular Immunity

We consolidate the cellular immunology instrumentation and capabilities of the program in support of ACVP investigators and collaborators, with advanced multiparameter flow cytometry analysis and fluorescence activated cell sorting capabilities, including the capacity for sorting of infectious specimens under appropriate biocontainment conditions.

Immunopathology and Tissue Analysis

We provide state-of-the art tissue analysis capabilities (i.e. Immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, quantitative image analysis, multi-label studies, laser capture microdissection) for directed studies and in support of intramural and extramural investigator collaborative studies relevant to key questions in HIV/AIDS research, with an emphasis on analysis of specimens from non-human primate (NHP) models.

Quantitative Molecular Diagnostics

Using quantitative PCR approaches for sequence detection and measurement, combined with near quantitative methods for nucleic acid recovery from specimens, the QMDC has become a recognized leader in the development, application and performance of SIV viral load measurements.

Retrovirus-Cell Interaction

The Retrovirus Cell Interaction Section examines critical aspects of how HIV-1 interacts with its host by studying HIV-1 as well as SIV in the rhesus macaque animal model. Important features of HIV-1 and SIV infection, replication, pathogenesis, and immunology are investigated by the Section using a broad-based multidisciplinary experimental approach. Areas of expertise include: retrovirology, molecular biology, cell biology, and genetic engineering using retroviral and lentiviral vectors.

Specimen Support

We serve as the "clinical laboratory" equivalent for specimens associated with studies in NHP conducted by ACVP scientists and collaborators. The SSC receives, accessions, processes, distributes, and stores blood and tissue derived specimens from macaques under study, and maintains detailed databases on these specimens, including current inventories of cryopreserved samples, and also performs standardized assays on these samples.

HIV Molecular Monitoring

HIV Molecular Monitoring Core (HMMC) was established in response to the increasing demand for specialized molecular analyses of viral parameters in clinical studies in the AIDS research community. The key technologies resident in the core will consist of an ultrasensitive viral load assay for HIV-1 (threshold limit of detection <1 HIV-1 RNA copy/mL of plasma), single genome sequencing methods, and analysis of genotypic markers of drug resistance.