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University of Rochester named Center for AIDS Research by the National Institutes of Health
Date:5/9/2013

re than 20 years and this gives us the opportunity to reach out more broadly across the institution than ever before in search of new ideas, talent and inspiration."

The CFAR will include two major working groups. The first, led by Harris "Handy" A. Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Neural Development and Disease and an international expert on HIV-associated dementia, will focus on the virus' affect on the brain and what it means for aging patients.

Thanks to great strides in treatment, people with HIV are living longer than ever before: More than 45 percent of patients who receive care at URMC's AIDS Center are 50 years of age or older and more than 15 percent are 60 or older. According to Gelbard, this is a new phenomenon, and little is known about how HIV interacts with other conditions associated with aging, such as age-related cognitive decline. Gelbard says the group will take advantage of the Medical Center's expertise in neurology clinical trials and novel imaging tools and techniques developed by the Institute of Optics to investigate AIDS and the aging brain.

David H. Mathews, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, will head the second working group focused on HIV RNA biology. The genetic material of HIV (its genome) is composed of RNA or ribonucleic acid, which is used to make DNA that then inserts itself in the chromosome of the host cell. Better understanding the structure and function of HIV RNA and how it replicates will give researchers the opportunity to target different aspects of the virus that haven't been targeted in the past. Such information could be used to develop new drug treatments and to facilitate the eradication of latent reservoirs of virus infection.

"We have a concentration of the world's leading RNA investigators here at the University," said Mathews, associate director of URMC's Center for RNA Biology. "Our goal is to encourage RNA
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Contact: Emily Boynton
emily_boynton@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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