Viral Persistence Section

Overview

The Viral Persistence Section studies the establishment, spread, and maintenance of persistent AIDS virus infections and persistent opportunistic viral infections that cause cancer in the setting of AIDS. 

The laboratory uses a combination of nonhuman primate models of HIV infection, along with advanced cell culture, virology, and molecular biology techniques to better understand persistent virus sources and to evaluate novel treatment approaches to eliminate persistent viral reservoirs.  

Focus

Studying persistent HIV reservoir establishment, maintenance, and targeting 

  • Develop and use nonhuman primate models of combination antiretroviral therapy-mediated suppression of HIV infection. 
  • Assess approaches to deplete viral reservoirs in vivo
  • Use immunologic, epigenetic, and gene expression methods to understand spontaneous control of viral replication when antiretroviral therapy is halted. 

Development of nonhuman primate models of HIV infection and reservoirs within the central nervous system 

  • Examine virion penetrance into and egress from the central nervous system. 
  • Evaluate alternative viruses, including engineered viruses with macrophage tropism. 
  • Assess alternative routes of virus inoculation. 

Understanding macaque gammaherpesvirus infections

  • Develop a tractable animal model of gammaherpesvirus-associated AIDS-related malignancies. 
  • Examine the tissue sources of gammaherpesvirus shed in saliva. 
  • Develop novel tools to evaluate antibody responses to all three rhesus gammaherpesviruses. 
  • Identify correlates of malignancy development.