Training in HIV Translational Research

Investigator: Diane Havlir, MD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Location(s): United States


Despite extraordinary progress in HIV research, there remain many critical roadblocks to defining the pathogenesis and optimal treatment of HIV disease. These include identification of correlates of protection from HIV infection and transmission; heterogeneity and pathogenesis of HIV disease progression; latency as an obstacle to eradication; interactions between HIV and the liver, kidney, heart and metabolic systems and their relationship to aging, and short and long term immune restoration in settings where overlapping epidemics of tuberculosis and malaria exist. We have established an HIV translational training program at UCSF to address these research gaps. The objectives of our program are to provide high quality, multidisciplinary training to physician researchers for a career in HIV translational research, under the careful supervision of a small and carefully selected group of patient based and laboratory scientists located on the San Francisco General Hospital campus of UCSF. The program is co-directed by clinic-based (Havlir) and laboratory-based (McCune) physician scientists. The program has the following emphases: (a) hypothesis-driven patient-oriented translational research; (b) co-mentoring by a clinical and a laboratory scientist; (c) training in research methodology, manuscript preparation, and grant writing; and (d) recruitment and retention of women and minorities in the program. Upon completion of the program, we expect our graduates to have achieved the following: (1) to have secured K23, VA career, R21, or R01 funding, (2) to have a track record of publications, and (3) to be well on their way to becoming productive, independent researchers at an academic institution. We strive to train the lead physician HIV scientists of the future and for these leaders to consist of women and men and persons of diverse racial backgrounds. Twenty three million persons are currently living with HIV, and HIV continues to be a major cause of death and suffering worldwide. Our program supports the training of young scientists that will address high impact research questions aimed at improving our understanding and treatment of HIV.