Host-Virus Interaction Branch
Host-Virus Interaction Branch
The Host-Virus Interaction Branch (HVIB) comprises several elements.
The Clinical Retrovirology Section, headed by Frank Maldarelli, conducts fundamental studies of HIV-1 pathogenesis, including HIV-1 genetic variation in vivo; the role of clonally expanded cells in HIV-1 persistence in individuals on antiretroviral therapy (ART); and the use of clinical interventional studies to characterize the HIV-1 reservoir, including investigating the presence of infectious and defective proviruses in clonally expanded cells and the tissue distribution of the clones. Dr. Maldarelli also studies the population genetics of HIV prior to and following initiation of ART to understand the emergence of resistance within individuals. Dr. Maldarelli is the Principal Investigator for all HIV DRP clinical protocols, and he also serves as Associate Investigator on a number of collaborative protocols with intramural groups to maximize opportunities for research (HIV and AIDS Malignancy Branch, National Cancer Institute; Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Critical Care Medicine Department, NIH Clinical Center; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke).
The Translational Research Section, headed by Mary F. Kearney, studies HIV-1 genetic diversity and low-frequency drug-resistance mutations in response to ART and characterizes and identifies the sources of persistent and rebound viremia despite ART. This Section’s current studies are focused on characterizing the genetics of the HIV-1 reservoir in adults and children across various cell subsets and determining the efficacy of potential curative interventions.
John W. Mellors (Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, and Director, HIV/AIDS Program, University of Pittsburgh) provides critical consultation on all aspects of HIV-1 clinical research, including protocol design and implementation. Dr. Mellors provides an invaluable interface with the extramural clinical research community, especially with the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), and the Microbicide Trial Network (MTN), making possible the HVIB’s participation in major, multicenter clinical trials. The Mellors laboratory also collaborates closely with the HVIB on development of novel laboratory techniques for analysis of clinical material, and in basic studies of the mechanism of resistance to reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
John M. Coffin (American Cancer Society Research Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Tufts University and founding Director of the HIV DRP) serves as advisor to the Director of the Center for Cancer Research and consultant to the clinical program, providing critical advice on all aspects of the HVIB's research, particularly in the areas of assay design, development, and evaluation; data analysis and interpretation; and basic and clinical research approaches.