Global Fellows Research Academy
Institution: KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme
Country of work: Kenya
What is your motivation for engaging in HIV cure and remission research?
Whilst antiretroviral therapy (ART) has revolutionized HIV management, preventive vaccines and cure strategies remain a conundrum. I am interested in enhancing our understanding of virus-host interactions and how this drives disease pathogenesis, with an aim of informing prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine candidates.
What is your current area of research?
I am currently working on a collection of unique well-characterized longitudinal samples from volunteers with acute HIV infection (AHI) from Africa and Europe. I am carrying out single genome sequencing to characterize the transmitted founder virus (TFV), viral diversity and evolutionary dynamics. I am also profiling host genetic characteristics (including HLA/KIR profiles) and innate immune responses. I will use state-of-the-art hierarchical phylogenetic modeling to elucidate the interactions between these virus-host profiles, and how they drive disease pathogenesis.
Our group is also compiling a grant application proposing to apply recent advances in mass spectrometry-based techniques to characterize blood plasma proteome changes during AHI, identify novel markers, and discern the relationship between blood plasma proteome, virus characteristics, host profiles and disease pathogenesis.