Improving HIV therapy by chromatin modulation
35 million people are currently living with HIV. Work in our group aims of improve HIV therapy and eradicating the virus by reducing and possibly eliminating the reservoir of latently infected cells. The reservoir is challenging to study as the latently infected cells are rare (1 in a million CD4+ cells) and portions of the reservoir contain no viral proteins at all. The reservoir can be eliminated either by activating the provirus by an latency reversal agent (LRA) followed by destruction of the cell (“shock and kill”) (Fig 1), by permanent inactivating the provirus (“lock-and-block”), or by a combination of the two as to target distinct subsets of the reservoir
Our main focus is controlling the chromatin composition and transcriptional state of the provirus. We have developed unique single-molecule techniques to study and interfere with the viral life-cycle in HIV+ patients.
Lines of research
1. Identify and quantitate the reservoir of latently infected cells in HIV+ patients.
2. Validate a transcription elongation complex as a drug target to activate HIV.
3. Find new cellular protein targets for HIV latency reversal agents.
Academic honors, awards and prizes
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