Center for AIDS Research

New HIV/AIDS-related NIH grants awarded to Einstein-Montefiore CFAR Investigators in 2012

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Julia Arnsten, MD, MPH, Director of the CFAR Clinical and Translational Investigation Core, Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine, and Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology & Population Health and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences received a $3.3 million RO1 grant (R01 DA032552) for the study entitled “Neurocognitive effects of opiate agonist treatment in HIV infected drug users.” This study will test the hypothesis that treatment with buprenorphine is associated with significant improvement in neurocognitive function in opioid-dependent drug users with- and without HIV, compared to methadone and whether HIV-infection moderates the impact of opioid agonist therapies on NC function. 

Aaron D. Fox, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine received a $912,000 K23 grant (K23DA034541) for a mentored research project entitled “Buprenorphine facilitated access and supportive treatment in former inmates.” This study will examine the effectiveness of a tailored intervention to target former inmates and to use peer mentors  to increase initiation of buprenorphine treatment, an effective treatment for opioid addiction, and reduce HIV risk behaviors, overdose-related deaths, and re-incarceration. 

Harris Goldstein, MD, Director of the Einstein-Montefiore CFAR and Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology & Immunology received a $2.8 million RO1 grant (R01DA033788) for the study entitled “Systems biology analysis of in vivo impact of substance abuse on HIV infection.” This study will study the mechanism by which substance abuse increases HIV transmission and accelerates disease course by delineating the early stages of HIV infection using a novel humanized mouse model and systems biology analysis. 

William Jacobs, PhD, Associate Director of the Einstein-Montefiore CFAR, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Genetics and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute received a $5.8 million RO1 grant (R01AI098925) for the study entitled “Vaccines for extensively drug resistant tuberculosis.” This study will produce and test the capacity of a vaccine derived from IKE-deleted M. smegmatis expressing genes encoding immunodominant TB antigens to induce bacteriocidal immunity that is protective of infection by MDR (Multi Drug Resistant)-TB and XDR (Extensively drug Resistant)-TB which disproportionally infect and kill HIV-infected individuals. 

Alain Litwin, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Clinical Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences received a $3.7 million RO1 grant (R01DA034086) for the study entitled “Intensive models of HCV care for injection drug users.” This study will examine the effectiveness of directly observed therapy (DOT) with antiviral agents targeting HCV to improve adherence and maximize the number of HCV-infected injection drug users (including up to 90% of HIV-infected injection drug users) that are able to be cured from HCV infection. 

Max R. O'Donnell, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology & Population Health received a $669,000 K23 grant (K23AI098479) for a mentored research project entitled “Biomarker for XDR-TB treatment response and drug resistance in HIV endemic area.” This study will examine the effectiveness of a TB biomarker to rapidly predict treatment response and diagnose new drug-resistance and thereby improve treatment outcomes that include improved survival, decreased patient infectivity and reduced community spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis strains, particularly in HIV endemic settings. 

Deborah Palliser, PhD, Assistant Professor Department of Microbiology & Immunology received a $2.1 million RO1 grant (R01AI099567) for the study entitled Enhancing RNAi delivery in vivo.” This study will investigate the efficacy of using RNAi as a potential microbicide to prevent infection with HSV-2, a major co-factor for HIV-1, which infects ~ 20% of adults in the US and up to 90% in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and thereby slow HIV-1 transmission. 

John Pachankis, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology received a $690,000 R34 grant (R34MH096607) for the study entitled, “Intervention development for social stress, mental health, and HIV risk among MSM.” This study aims to develop and test a theoretically-driven intervention that reduces the health-depleting effects of minority stress associated with MSM through targeting the basic psychosocial mechanisms linking minority stress to increased HIV risk behavior. 

Liise-Anne Pirofski, MD,  Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases and Professor of Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology received a $2.7 million RO1 grant (R01AI097096) for the study entitled “B cell subsets and immunity to cryptococcosis.” The goal of this study is to determine whether the loss of IgM memory B cells, a subset of B cells which are depleted in HIV infection, can be used to identify patients with HIV/AIDS who will get cryptococcosis and to determine the mechanistic basic for this association.  

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