Viral Evolution Core (VEC)


The Viral Evolution Core (VEC) was created in 2009 to provide expertise in specialized sequencing techniques, molecular cloning, and viral evolution analyses to support the ACVP, NCI, NIH, and extramural investigators conducting a broad range of AIDS-research studies, including HIV-cure research, viral reservoir identification/elimination, viral transmission/dissemination, and viral adaptation. The VEC seeks to improve the overall understanding of viral evolution with a major focus on exploiting the unique advantages afforded by utilizing NHP models involving infection with SIV and SIV-based chimeric viruses. The VEC has established critical infrastructure and essential personnel to provide key genetic insights into viral evolution for a diverse group of scientists who might lack the capability and expertise to perform such analyses in their individual laboratories.

The primary function of the core is to generate viral genome sequencing data with subsequent analysis. This may entail sequencing of bulk DNA/RNA, single genome amplification (SGA), which allows sequencing of individual templates from a mixed population, or next-generation sequencing (NGS), which can provide in-depth analyses of the viral population in a single region of the genome or a broad view of the diversity across multiple smaller regions comprising the full genome from thousands of templates, or a combination of all three approaches. In addition to its collaborative work, the VEC is also dedicated to developing innovative new techniques and sequencing services for collaborators. The core has recently developed and optimized protocols to generate near-full-length sequences of both HIV and SIV, allowing for a more complete assessment of the intactness and evolution of the genome as a whole, rather than extrapolating from a discrete region of the genome. The core also has developed numerous MiSeq assays to query specific target sequences in depth in both SIV and HIV genomes.

Complete publications list

Viral Evolution Core Staff

Brandon Keele, Ph.D.Brandon Keele, Ph.D.
Core Head
Phone: 301-846-1731
Fax: 301-846-5588

  • Fennessey, Christine
  • Newman, Laura
  • Lipkey, Leslie