The University of Rochester Center for AIDS Research (UR CFAR) held its ninth annual HIV/AIDS Scientific Symposium on Friday, December 1 in recognition of World AIDS Day.
Leading researchers from across the country traveled to Rochester to discuss hot topics in the field. Kamel Khalili, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neuroscience and director of the Center for Neurovirology at the School of Medicine at Temple University focused on the gene editing technology CRISPR-Cas9. He shared how CRISPR, in concert with long-acting antiretroviral therapy, can help eliminate HIV infection with no viral rebound in humanized mice. “Mad, Bad, and Sad: Syndemic HIV and Mental Illness” was the title of a talk given by Michael Blank, Ph.D., professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the HIV Prevention Research Division at the University of Pennsylvania. Blank’s full presentation can be viewed here.
A poster session featured research from undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral associates training at the University of Rochester and in the surrounding region. Posters from faculty were also featured.
Supporting the early career development of diverse young HIV/AIDS investigators is a major goal of the UR CFAR, and in that spirit the Center recognized outstanding research conducted by graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Poster award winners include:
- Sanghita Sarkar (pictured far left) – Clinical/translational/public health research conducted by a post-doctoral fellow. Poster title: "IL-33 enhances the kinetics and quality of the antibody response to HIV envelope.”
- Madhubanti Basu (pictured far right) – Clinical/translational/public health research conducted by a post-doctoral fellow. Poster title: “Seeking vaccine-induced human HIV envelope specific long-lived plasma cells.”
- Anas Abidin (pictured center left) – Clinical/translational/public health research conducted by a graduate student. Poster title: “Alteration of Brain Network Topology in HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorder: A Novel Functional Connectivity Perspective.”
- Jennetta Hammond – Basic Science research conducted by a post-doctoral fellow. Poster title: “The C1q-dependent classical complement pathway does not contribute to synapse loss in a mouse model of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder.”
- Maxime Jean (pictured center right) – Basic science research conducted by a graduate student. Poster title: “Curaxin CBL0100 blocks HIV-1 replication and reactivation through inhibition of viral transcriptional elongation.”
For the third year, the UR CFAR recognized a member of the community who has gone above and beyond to support HIV/AIDS research locally. Evelyn Bailey, an educator, political activist and historian, won the CFAR Community Partner Award for her long-standing partnership with the University of Rochester and her pioneering contributions to the local LGBTQ community. Bailey, pictured left with CFAR director Steve Dewhurst, led the collection and documentation of Rochester's robust LGBT history and produced Shoulders to Stand On, a documentary in which she captured the HIV/AIDS epidemic through individual testimonies and storytelling.
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The University of Rochester Medical Center is home to approximately 3,000 individuals who conduct research on everything from cancer and heart disease to Parkinson’s, pandemic influenza and autism. Spread across many centers, institutes and labs, our scientists have developed therapies that have improved human health locally, in the region and across the globe. To learn more, visit www.urmc.rochester.edu/research.