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NIH doubles support for vital HIV/AIDS research center

The National Institutes of Health will award $15 million over the next five years to the Center for AIDS Research of the University of California, San Francisco and the Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology to continue its pioneering translational researcha doubling of its previous five-year award.

The UCSF-GIVI Center for AIDS Research is absolutely crucial to maintaining and extending the leadership role of San Francisco in responding to the HIV epidemic. It brings together a true community of HIV investigators who represent the many disciplines and campus sites involved in this effort, said Paul Volberding, MD, the centers co-director and professor and vice-chair, UCSF Department of Medicine and Chief of the Medical Service at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Co-directed by Warner Greene, MD, PhD, director of the UCSF affiliated GIVI, the Center for AIDS Research provides strategic, educational and scientific services to HIV/AIDS researchers. Its research goal is to expand the intersections of basic, clinical and behavioral/epidemiological HIV research. It provides infrastructure support to over $80 million of funded HIV/AIDS research at UCSF and affiliated institutions.

CFAR is particularly vital in encouraging the collaborations across conventional scientific disciplines that can direct the amazing expertise of UCSF scientists to address the newest challenges of HIV disease. As we address scientific and clinical challenges here in San Francisco as well as in the world-wide epidemic, CFAR will provide the essential infrastructure to facilitate the most important and innovative science we all depend on, said Greene.

The NIH CFAR program, first funded in 1988, currently supports 19 centers based at leading HIV/AIDS research institutions. UCSF was one of the first institutions to be funded under this program. In 2003, the program was modified to provide greater funding to larger institutions.

The growth plans of CFAR include expanding the number of pilot awards available including funding specific pilots in basic science and for mentoring of foreign scientists. In addition, direct support will be increased for the centers highly successful mentoring program and support for international collaborations, specifically in Eastern Africa.

CFAR provides essential infrastructure for HIV/AIDS research through its clinical and population sciences, immunology (including flow core), virology, specimen bank, and pharmacology cores. These cores provide access to cohorts, assays and services.

CFAR has succeeded in stimulating several advances in HIV/AIDS research, including:

  • Delineating the biology of the APOBEC3G protein in anti-viral immunity

  • Boosting thymic function

  • Changes in viral fitness as a result of antiretroviral drug resistance

  • Understanding the immunopathogenicity of protease inhibitor-resistant HIV

  • In Vivo Assessment of Thymic Function and T-Cell Activation in Patients with Drug-resistant and wild-type HIV

  • Atherosclerosis in HIV Disease

  • Adherence and drug resistance in the United States and Uganda

  • Dissecting the molecular basis of HIV latency

  • Inpatient HIV testing and counseling in Uganda

  • Studies of the interactions between HIV and malaria.


Contact: Jeff Sheehy
University of California - San Francisco

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