Recent Advances in AIDS and HIV Research

Investigator: Paul Volberding, MD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Location(s): United States


Since 1998, the NIH-funded Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR) have hosted an annual one day National CFAR Scientific Symposium in conjunction with the annual CFAR Directors’/Administrators’ meeting. The purpose of the CFAR scientific symposium is to present, in a public forum, recent “cutting edge” advances in HIV/AIDS research for an average attendance of approximately 250-300. The intimate size of the meeting promotes opportunities for interactions between young and more senior investigators that would not be available at the larger annual scientific meetings related to HIV/AIDS. A key innovation in the last five years is the addition of a peer mentoring workshop for attending junior investigators. The meeting location rotates so that it is hosted each year by a different CFAR site. This provides geographic diversity for the venue and opportunities for a broader array of participants than for similar research symposia. As in the past, each hosting CFAR site has the flexibility to design the scientific agenda of the conference to meet the current interests and needs of the CFAR scientific community. Whenever possible, topics will reflect issues related to the OAR HIV/AIDS Priorities. Speakers are selected from the various NIH-funded Centers for AIDS Research leadership, their scientific membership, and from nationally and internationally recognized research institutions. In addition to the participating CFAR Directors and invited leaders in the field, the remaining participants for the annual National CFAR Symposia are chosen based on specific criteria. First preference is given to young investigators who have received developmental funds from an NIH-funded CFAR program; second preference to young investigators with demonstrable potential in HIV/AIDS research; third preference is to other senior investigators engaged in HIV/AIDS research. In all cases women and individuals from underrepresented ethnic groups are encouraged to attend through targeted advertising and travel scholarships. The NIH R13 meeting support of this symposium would specifically fund participation by diverse early stage investigators from each of the CFARs around the nation in the scientific symposium, with particular emphasis on women and individuals from underrepresented ethnic groups. Access to childcare is provided by the hosting CFAR and webcasts of the symposia are available for interested investigators who are not able to attend.