HIV/SHIV Research Projects

Investigating the role of innate antiviral and anti-inflammatory molecules of oral viral reservoir establishment in human and non-human primate models.

We are investigating the transmission-blocking potential of HIV Env-specific monoclonal antibodies isolated from a unique source of mucosal B cells, colostrum.  This work will elucidate inducible mucosal antibody responses that can inhibit mucosal HIV transmission, including infant HIV transmission via breastfeeding.


Team Members:  Ria Goswami, Joshua Tu

Defining mechanisms by which innate factors in breastmilk account for natural protection against vertical HIV-1 acquisition in infants

Several innate breast milk proteins have been shown to have anti-HIV-1 activity and likely contribute to the natural protection, including an extracellular matrix protein that we recently identified,Tenascin C. Thus, understanding the impact of these innate anti-HIV-1 breast milk factors on theestablishment of the oral HIV-1 reservoir and systemic spread is key to defining the natural protection againstoral HIV-1 acquisition via breastfeeding that could be harnessed for novel infant HIV-1 prevention strategies.


Team Members: Ria Goswami, Amit Kumar

Defining mechanisms of IgG transplacental transfer to the fetus.

We recently identified antibody responses associated with reduced risk of MTCT in a humoral immune correlate analysis using samples from 248 U.S. HIV-infected transmitting and non-transmitting women enrolled in the historical Women and Infants Transmission Study (WITS). This study was conducted before the availability of ARV prophylaxis; a unique opportunity to identify potentially protective immune factors in the absence of the strong influence of ARV.


Team Members: David Martinez, Amit Kumar, Giny Fouda, Jesse Mangold

IMPAACT Specialty Laboratory.

We assess how infants respond to HIV vaccines in comparison to adults, to further characterize those immune responses, and determine how a pediatric HIV vaccine may impact other vaccines received in early childhood.  Additionally, we assess which adjuvants may enhance the immune responses elicited by a pediatric vaccine.  We also assess the ontogeny of neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies in the setting of HIV-infected children. We also examine maternal factors in breast milk of HIV-1 transmitting and non-transmitting mothers to determine if they are predictive of transmission risk across different cohorts.


Team Members:  Joshua Eudailey, Giny Fouda, Grace Li

Duke University School of Medicine

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