Center for AIDS Research

Virology Core


Kalpana 2013The Einstein-Montefiore CFAR Virology Core supplies technical expertise, infrastructure and advanced instrumentation to enable Einstein investigators to access a wide array of cellular and molecular virological approaches to provide optimal study design and technical support to accomplish their research goals.


Core Mission

  • To provide the infrastructure, reagents, assays and technologies to enable basic and translational researchers to investigate HIV infection, pathogenesis and therapy.
  • To perform cellular and molecular assays characterizing HIV-infection to support clinical and translational investigators engaged in patient-based studies of HIV/AIDS patients.
  • To provide training to investigators in a wide range of cellular and molecular assays used in the study of HIV pathogenesis.

Core Facilities

  • A fully equipped and supported biohazard facility to provide CFAR investigators with a centralized facility that provides appropriate biohazard infrastructure for cellular and molecular analysis of HIV infection.
  • Applied Biosystems 7900 RT PCR machine for RT-qPCR analysis of gene expression and HIV viral load.
  • Abbott M 2000 RT Real Time PCR System for quantitative determination of viral loads (HIV-1, HCV, HSV and CMV) in clinical samples (plasma, CVL and other body fluids and mouse body fluids).
  • AutoMAC Pro Seperator for high-speed sorting of cells including HIV-1-infected samples.
  • A multi-well micro plate reader for high throughput measurement fluorescence, luminecense and absorbance in microplate-based assays.
  • Olympus florescent microscope for evaluation of BLAM assays

Core Services

  • Processing of blood from clinical studies of HIV-infected individuals and storage of plasma, serum and PBMC's.
  • Measurement of plasma HIV-1 RNA levels by an FDA-approved commercial assay and low-cost lab-developed assays for research studies.
  • Measurement of serum HCV antibody and plasma HCV virus levels by FDA-approved assays.
  • Provision of titered primary HIV isolates, engineered HIV constructs (including infectious clones expressing luciferase and GFP), antibodies (anti-p24) and proteins. 
  • Quantification of HIV-1 neutralization activity in serum. 
  • Performance of a wide-range of molecular biological techniques for users including specialized techniques to quantify HIV fusion, entry and infection. 
  • Immunomagnetic sorting of cell subpopulations from HIV-infected and uninfected individuals.
  • Measurement of p24 antigen in serum and culture supernatants.
  • Access to the AB 7900RT PCR machine for RT-qPCR measurement of RNA levels using custom and commercial primer pairs.

Core Training Programs

  • Orientation to biohazard culture techniques in the centralized BSL3/Virology Core facility. 
  • Measurement of RNA levels by RT-qPCR using the AB7900RT PCR machine
  • Co-culture and expansion of HIV-1 from patient-derived PBMCs. 
  • Using the autoMACS Pro Separator for high yield separation of infected cellular populations.
  • Performance of HIV-1 fusion assays using luciferase reporter pseudotyped HIV-1.

Charge Back Fees

  • HIV-1 co-culture: $200
  • PBMC separation and cell freezing in liquid nitrogen: $50/sample.
  • HIV DNA/RNA PCR: $100/sample.
  • HIV p24 Ag measurements: $2/sample.
  • HIV viral load by Abbott m2000RT assay: $75/sample.
  • HIV viral load by RT-qPCR: $20/sample.
  • HIV-1 titered viral isolate or HIV-1 reporter isolate: $10/aliqout.
To access Core services please contact Dr. Ganjam Kalpana.

Recent Core Publications

1. Gaskill PJ, Calderon TM, Coley JS, Berman JW. Drug Induced Increases in CNS Dopamine Alter Monocyte, Macrophage and T Cell Functions: Implications for HAND. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013;8(3):621-42. Epub 2013/03/05. doi: 10.1007/s11481-013-9443-y. PubMed PMID: 23456305.

2. Herold BC, Keller MJ, Shi Q, Hoover DR, Carpenter CA, Huber A, Parikh UM, Agnew KJ, Minkoff H, Colie C, Nowicki MJ, D'Souza G, Watts DH, Anastos K. Plasma and mucosal HIV viral loads are associated with genital tract inflammation in HIV-infected women. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013;63(4):485-93. Epub 2013/04/18. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182961cfc. PubMed PMID: 23591635; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3706034.

3. Nixon B, Stefanidou M, Mesquita PM, Fakioglu E, Segarra T, Rohan L, Halford W, Palmer KE, Herold BC. Griffithsin protects mice from genital herpes by preventing cell-to-cell spread. J Virol. 2013;87(11):6257-69. Epub 2013/03/29. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00012-13. PubMed PMID: 23536670; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3648100.

4. Rao VR, Neogi U, Talboom JS, Padilla L, Rahman M, Fritz-French C, Gonzalez-Ramirez S, Verma A, Wood C, Ruprecht RM, Ranga U, Azim T, Joska J, Eugenin E, Shet A, Bimonte-Nelson H, Tyor WR, Prasad VR. Clade C HIV-1 isolates circulating in Southern Africa exhibit a greater frequency of dicysteine motif-containing Tat variants than those in Southeast Asia and cause increased neurovirulence. Retrovirology. 2013;10:61. Epub 2013/06/14. doi: 10.1186/1742-4690-10-61. PubMed PMID: 23758766; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3686704.

5. Seay K, Qi X, Zheng JH, Zhang C, Chen K, Dutta M, Deneroff K, Ochsenbauer C, Kappes JC, Littman DR, Goldstein H. Mice Transgenic for CD4-Specific Human CD4, CCR5 and Cyclin T1 Expression: A New Model for Investigating HIV-1 Transmission and Treatment Efficacy. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(5):e63537. Epub 2013/05/22. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063537. PubMed PMID: 23691059; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3655194.

6. Suh HS, Gelman BB, Lee SC. Potential Roles of Microglial Cell Progranulin in HIV-Associated CNS Pathologies and Neurocognitive Impairment. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013. Epub 2013/08/21. doi: 10.1007/s11481-013-9495-z. PubMed PMID: 23959579.

7. Williams DW, Calderon TM, Lopez L, Carvallo-Torres L, Gaskill PJ, Eugenin EA, Morgello S, Berman JW. Mechanisms of HIV entry into the CNS: increased sensitivity of HIV infected CD14+CD16+ monocytes to CCL2 and key roles of CCR2, JAM-A, and ALCAM in diapedesis. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(7):e69270. Epub 2013/08/08. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069270. PubMed PMID: 23922698; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3724935.


Core Leadership

Ganjam, Kalpana, PhD

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