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HIV/AIDS Research

Drs. Kuritzkes, Tsibris, Henrich, & Li

Under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, the Division’s clinical research includes domestic and international studies of HIV infection and basic HIV virology. Dr. Kuritzkes is Chair and Principal Investigator of the ACTG, an NIH-funded clinical trials network comprising 59 clinical research sites in the US and in resource-limited settings around the world; he is also co-PI of the Harvard/Boston/Providence Clinical Trials Unit (CTU). The ACTG conducts clinical trials focused on HIV eradication; prevention and treatment of tuberculosis; treatment of hepatitis C virus infection; prevention and treatment of end-organ complications of HIV infection; neurological manifestations of HIV infection; and HIV/AIDS-associated malignancies.

In addition, his laboratory explores mechanisms of HIV-1 drug resistance and the fitness of drug-resistant viruses, and the emergence of HIV-1 drug resistance in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Work in collaboration with Dr. Utkan Demirci’s group is directed at developing novel low-cost point-of-care diagnostic devices for enumerating CD4 cells, quantifying plasma HIV-1, and microbial pathogen detection. Dr. Athe Tsibris has explored the determinants of HIV-1 resistance to CCR5 antagonists, and now studies the effect of mucosal immune modulation on HIV infection.

Dr. Jonathan Li applies novel sequencing technologies to study the impact of low-frequency HIV drug-resistant variants on the risk of antiretroviral failure. He also studies HIV persistence and the effects of various therapeutic interventions on the viral reservoir. Dr. Timothy Henrich in studies HIV-1 persistence and the effects of cytotoxic chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation on viral reservoirs, viral evolution and HIV-1-specific immune responses. He is also investigating the contribution of graft-versus-host disease on the HIV-1 reservoir in the setting of allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Their laboratory research is based at the Mass General Brigham Research Facility at 65 Lansdowne Street.

Dr. Sax

Dr. Paul Sax is the site leader for HIV therapeutics research conducted at BWH through the ACTG, and supervises all clinical, pharmacologic, data management, and consultative efforts. Dr. Sax’s ongoing research efforts involve clinical trials of new antiretroviral therapies or strategies and the cost-effectiveness of HIV therapy in collaboration with Kenneth Freedberg, M.D., and other investigators at HSPH and MGH.

Dr. Yawetz

Dr. Yawetz oversees the Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) program for occupational and non-occupational exposures to HIV, HIV care for patients of the Boston Hemophilia Center, and HIV care for HIV-1-infected pregnant women. She is a co-investigator, with Dr. Sax, for the ACTG protocols. She teaches HST HIV clinic for ICM and mentors HMS students, ID Fellows, and the BWH HIV Fellow in clinic and is the site Primary Investigator of a multinational Gilead-funded study of novel antiretroviral therapy for women with HIV. Dr. Yawetz is the recipient of the HSRA’s Ryan White Part D funding for the clinical care of women and youth with HIV and leads our clinical program for HIV in women.

Dr. Lockman

Dr. Shahin Lockman conducts clinical trials and epidemiologic research in Botswana on the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission; the impact of these mother-to-child transmission prevention interventions on maternal and infant health, and antiretroviral treatment outcomes and HIV co-morbidities in HIV-infected adults and HIV-exposed infants in resource-limited prevention. She also co-directs the Botswana Clinical Trials Unit, which conducts ACTG and IMPAACT studies. Dr. Lockman is also co-PI on a community-randomized trial of combination interventions (including home-based HIV testing, point-of-care CD4, active linkage to care and to male circumcision, and viral-load-driven treatment as prevention) aimed at reducing community-level HIV incidence.

Drs. Plank and Dryden-Peterson

Dr. Rebeca Plank examines the acceptability, safety and feasibility of infant male circumcision as part of HIV prevention efforts in Botswana, a country with one of the highest rates of HIV in the world. The team has completed a randomized trial of two methods commonly used in the United States (Mogen Clamp versus Plastibell) and then went on to complete a trial of a newly FDA-approved device (AccuCirc) for the circumcision of male neonates that has several safety advantages over the previous clamps. Data from the studies conducted by Dr. Plank and the team have helped the Botswana Ministry of Health design and implement their infant male circumcision program.

Dr. Plank is expanding her research into other methods of preventing new HIV infections, including the use of treatment as prevention. Dr. Scott Dryden-Peterson has developed an observational cohort of patients with malignancy in Botswana, in order to examine HIV- and immune-status as risk factors for specific malignancies, and to describe clinical outcomes.

Dr. Baden

Dr. Baden serves as site leader for the BWH Vaccine Clinical Research Site of the Harvard/MGB/Providence CTU. Studies focus on phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of novel adenovirus vector-based HIV vaccines developed by colleagues at the BIDMC and Ragon Institute. He also serves as an Associate Program Director for the BWH Clinical Trials Center as a component of Catalyst, the Clinical and Translational Science Center at Harvard Medical School.


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