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Penn Center for AIDS Research

News Archive

The Penn CFAR News Archive contains news that features Penn CFAR investigators, CAB members, and cutting edge AIDS research.

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Bridgette Brawner, Anne Teitelman, and Loretta Jemmott publish on Personalized Biobehavioral HIV Prevention for Women and Adolescent Girls (10/15/13)

Bridget Brawner

In May 2013 the Penn CFAR hosted a symposium entitled "A Biobehavioral Approach to HIV Management and Prevention Among Adolescents and Young Women." As an outcome of that meeting, Drs. Bridgette Brawner, Anne Teitelman, Loretta Jemmott, and graduate student Amanda Bevilacqua published an article in Global Advances in Health and Medicine on "Personalized Biobehavioral HIV Prevention for Women and Adolescent Girls."

Read the article...

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Changchun Liu and Haim Bau, Penn CFAR Developmental Pilot recipients, develop low-cost plasma separation device for point-of-care HIV testing (10/15/13)

Collection Device

When testing for some infectious diseases, doctors need to look for viruses lurking in blood plasma. In a new study, researchers report a 1.5-inch-tall filtration device that separates plasma from blood cells at larger sample volumes than other low-cost devices can handle (Anal. Chem. 2013, DOI: 10.1021/ac402459h). The filter system could serve as a component of a point-of-care device for monitoring viral loads in HIV patients, the researchers say.

Read more...
View their paper published in Analytical Chemistry

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Michael Blank publishes study on nursing interventions in mentally ill people with HIV (10/11/13)

Michael Blank

Having trained nurses follow up on medication use with mentally ill patients who are HIV positive was effective both at improving the patients’ quality of life and biological markers for the human immunodeficiency virus, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

Read more...

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Henry Kranzler named Director of Penn's Center for Addictions Studies (9/17/13)

Henry Kranzler

Henry R. Kranzler, a professor of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania whose work has contributed to the identification of genetic risk factors and pharmacological treatments for drug and alcohol dependence, has been named the director of Penn's Center for Studies of Addiction.

Read more...

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Doreen Ramogola-Masire receives the American Society for Clinical Pathology's 2013 Patient Advocate Award (9/10/13)

Doreen Ramogola-Masire4

Dr. Doreen Ramogola-Masire, Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Country Director of the Botswana-UPenn Partnership, receives the American Society for Clinical Pathology 2013 ASCP Patient's Advocate Award for her contributions in developing and evaluating novel approaches to preventing cervical cancer and improving patient care in Botswana. Dr. Ramogola-Masire is a previous recipient of a CFAR Developmental Pilot grant to study the "Epidemiology of HPV Infection in HIV-infected Women with Precancerous Cervical Lesions in Botswana", and has published widely on Womens' Health and Cervical Cancer in high HIV prevalence Botswana women.

Read more...

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Baligh Yehia attends White House briefing on the Affordable Care Act and the LGBT community (9/12/13)

Baligh Yehia at LGBT Summitt

The Affordable Care Act could truly transform the health and well-being of the LGBT community for generations to come, and the upcoming open enrollment period in the Health Insurance Marketplace,—from October 2013 to March 2014,—provides an important opportunity to get folks enrolled.

That's why the White House Office of Public Engagement and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are teaming up to host a Briefing on Obamacare and the LGBT Community, this Thursday, September 12th. The event will include remarks by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as well as an exciting presentation of important new research on how LGBT communities perceive and access health care, and suggested messaging strategies for reaching key sub-communities.

Read more...

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Baligh Yehia awarded ICAAC Young Investigator Award by the American Society for Microbiology (9/1/13)

Baligh Yehia

Baligh Yehia, M.D., M.P.P., M.S.H.P., Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), has received a 2013 ICAAC Young Investigator Award for his innovative work and leadership in the field of HIV health services and quality research. His teaching and scholarship focus on health outcomes of individuals living with chronic viral diseases and policies that affect those outcomes.

Read more...

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Rick Bushman's study on how viruses in gut bacteria change over time published in PNAS (7/31/13)

Rick Bushman

By closely following and analyzing the virome of one individual over two-and-a-half years, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, led by professor of Microbiology Frederic D. Bushman, Ph.D., have uncovered some important new insights on how a viral population can change and evolve – and why the virome of one person can vary so greatly from that of another. The evolution and variety of the virome can affect susceptibility and resistance to disease among individuals, along with variable effectiveness of drugs.

Their work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more...

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Baligh Yehia's study on HIV+ transgender people featured in Penn Medicine (5/31/13)

Baligh Yehia

HIV-positive transgender people are just as likely to stay in care, take their medication and have similar outcomes as other men and women living with the disease, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and published online May 30 in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The study—which looked at almost 37,000 patients at 13 HIV clinics from 2001 to 2011 in the US—suggests an encouraging shift from earlier work documenting poor retention in care and drug adherence in transgender people, a high risk group for HIV. Read more...

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Vincent Lo Re receives the Leonard Berwick Memorial Teaching Award (4/30/13)

Vincent Lore

This Award was established in 1980-1981 as a memorial to Leonard Berwick by his family and the department of pathology to recognize "a member of the medical faculty who in his or her teaching effectively fuses basic science and clinical medicine." It is intended that this award recognize persons who are outstanding teachers, particularly among Medicine's younger faculty. Read more...

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Phillipe Bourgois named a 2013 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (4/15/13)

Phillipe Bourgois

Philippe Bourgois of the University of Pennsylvania has been named a 2013 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow.

Selected from a field of nearly 3,000 applicants, he is among a group of 175 scholars, artists and scientists noted for their "basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise" in the eighty-ninth annual competition for the United States and Canada.

Read more...

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Dennis Dlugos receives Lindback Award for Distingiushed Teaching (4/9/13)

Dennis Dlugos

Dennis Dlugos, associate professor of neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine, has taught at Penn since 1998. The director of the School's Brain and Behavior Course, "he is a true 'triple threat,'" in the words of a colleague, with a "firm grasp of the three basic components of the academic medical center—clinical care, research, and education," combined with the "uncanny ability to present complex issues in a clear and understandable way." Read more...

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Haim Bau receives Provost's Award for Distinguished PhD Teaching and Mentoring (4/9/13)

Haim Bau

Haim Bau, professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, has taught at Penn since 1980. "A world-renowned scholar in the vast fields of heat transfer, mass transfer, and fluid mechanics," writes a colleague, he is "the first one in in the morning and the last one to leave in the evening. He is in his lab daily to talk with his students, review their progress and make suggestions for their research." As one of those students writes, "he has a knack for challenging me to learn, but at the same time supporting and teaching me. Moreover, he never just tells us what he knows. Instead, he lays out a series of questions and leads us to explore on our own. It is through such steps that we got both the fish and the fishing skills." Read more...

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Anne Teitelman and Courtney Schreiber interviewed on WHYY about HIV & Women's Health (12/11/12)

WHYY Studio with Drs Teitelman and SchreiberThe American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a recommendation recently to increase teen access to emergency contraception. In a new policy report, the organization advised pediatricians to not only openly discuss contraception with their female patients but to give advanced prescriptions for the morning-after pill. Currently Plan B is only available to adolescents under 17 with a prescription. In recent years, teen pregnancy has been declining but 80 percent of teen pregnancies are unintended, so could this new policy help reduce adolescent pregnancies even more? This hour, we'll discuss the new recommendations, contraception use among teens and other issues around their sexual health. Our guests are ANNE TEITELMAN, an Associate Professor of Nursing at University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and COURTNEY SCHREIBER, an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Listen to the podcast...

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Susan Ellenberg interviewed for How to Survive a Plague (9/22/12)

Susan Ellenberg, Professor of Biostatistics and Director of the Penn CFAR Biostatistics Core, is interviewed in the new documentary How to Survive a Plague. The documentary tracks the rise of ACT UP and TAG in the tumultuous early days of the AIDS epidemic.

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Gregory Sonnenberg given an NIH Director's Early Indepedence Award (9/28/12)

Gregory Sonnenberg

"Gregory F. Sonnenberg, Ph.D., a research associate at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, has been given an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. These grants encourage scientists who have demonstrated outstanding scientific creativity, intellectual maturity, and leadership skills with the opportunity to conduct independent biomedical or behavioral research by essentially skipping the traditional postdoctoral training period."

Read the full Penn Med news announcement.

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Paul Rozin recognized with the Dean's Award for Mentorship of Undergraduate Research (5/1/12)

Paul Rozin

This award recognizes faculty members who have excelled in nurturing undergraduate students' desires and abilities to conduct meaningful research. This year SAS honors Dr. Paul Rozin, professor of psychology. A fellow faculty member writes that Rozin is "uniquely dedicated" to mentorship and "has an extraordinary ability to excite in students a passion for research, to inspire their curiosity and to give them a sense of confidence and independence."

Visit the Penn Almanac for more.

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Charles O'Brien recognized with the Special Dean's Award (5/1/12)

Charles O'Brien

Dr. O'Brien is the Kenneth E. Appel Professor of Psychiatry and the director of the Penn Center for Studies in Addiction. Dr. O'Brien offered to teach a required course on substance abuse, which became part of the first year curriculum in 1989. The course is now taught, mainly by VA psychiatry faculty. It is believed to be the only full course on substance abuse at any medical school and consists of lectures on pharmacology and treatment of addiction, seminars with physicians recovering from addiction, interviews with patients, discussions of ethical issues raised by substance abuse and a final exam. The course stresses the latest in research on the treatment of addiction including discoveries that originated at Penn, such as the use of naltrexone to treat alcoholism and the measurement of addiction using the Addiction Severity Index. Read the press release.

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John B. Jemmott Awarded $2 Million Grant for Prevention of Chronic Diseases among HIV Positive African American Men (5/1/12)

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine, the Annenberg School for Communication and the School of Nursing, have received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study novel approaches to preventing chronic diseases in HIV-positive African American men.

John Jemmott

The research team's broad objective is to verify evidenced-based treatment strategies and reduce the risk of chronic diseases among HIV-positive African American men. Specifically, they will test the efficacy of a theory-based, contextually appropriate health promotion intervention to induce positive changes in behaviors linked to risk of chronic diseases among HIV- positive African American. The study will utilize a randomized controlled trial of 384 African American HIV-positive men age 40 or older who are receiving HAART. The intervention will include a five-a-day fruit and vegetable regimen, weight and cardiovascular monitoring, and prostate and colon cancer screenings.

 

Additional Penn faculty involved in the trial are: Dr. Loretta Sweet Jemmott, School of Nursing; Dr. Ian Frank, division of infectious diseases, Perelman School of Medicine; and Dr. Scarlett Bellamy, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Perelman School of Medicine.

Read more at Penn News and the Penn Almanac.

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Beatrice Hahn Elected to the National Academy of the Sciences (5/1/12)

Beatrice Hahn

The National Academy of Sciences today announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 15 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 2,152 and the total number of foreign associates to 430. Foreign associates are nonvoting members of the Academy, with citizenship outside the United States.

Read the press release.

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Luis Montaner and Penn CFAR researchers thwart HIV without antiviral drugs (3/9/12)

Luis Montaner - Inquirer

For the first time, researchers have shown that they can suppress the AIDS virus by bolstering patients' immune systems, while taking them off standard antiviral drugs.

The small, six-month-long study, led by scientists at the Wistar Institute and the University of Pennsylvania, put patients on interferon, an old drug with nasty side effects. Interferon by itself had not worked against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in previous studies. The researchers can only speculate about why their protocol - which initially gave antivirals and interferon together - was effective.

Read the whole article at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

 

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Nancy Hanrahan appointed to the behavioral health steering committee of the National Quality Forum (3/6/12)

Dr. Nancy Hanrahan, the Dr. Lenore H. Kurlowicz Term Associate Professor in Nursing, has been appointed to the behavioral health steering committee of the National Quality Forum, a non-profit dedicated to improving American healthcare.

More about the appointment from the Penn Almanac:

Nancy Hanrahan

Dr. Hanrahan's program of research spans mental health policy and evaluation of the quality of mental health delivery systems, the integration of mental health in primary care services, and the assessment of neuro-cognitive impairment and cognitive symptom management across all chronic illnesses. Her work, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, focuses on inpatient psychiatric outcomes and testing transitional care models for post-hospital care of patients discharged from a hospitalization for a psychiatric condition.

The Nursing Quality Forum committee is working to establish national priorities to improve the delivery of behavioral health services, achieve better behavioral health outcomes, and improve the behavioral health of the US population, especially in the areas of mental illness and substance abuse. To learn more, visit www.qualityforum.com

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Dennis E. Discher elected to the National Academy of Engineering (3/6/12)

Dr. Dennis E. Discher, the Robert D. Bent Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his accomplishments in "elucidation of the effects of mechanical forces on cell physiology and stem cell development."

More about the National Academy of Engineering from the Penn Almanac:

Dennis Discher

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

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Mark Pauly awarded the Graham Prize for Health Services (3/6/12)

Mark Pauly

Dr. Mark Pauly, Bendheim Professor, Professor of Health Care Management, and Professor of Business and Public Policy in the Wharton School, is the 2012 winner of the William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research, funded by the Baxter International Foundation and administered by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration. The Baxter International Foundation established this Prize to recognize its longtime CEO, William Graham. The prize award includes $50,000. Dr. Pauly will be honored in May. Read more at the Penn Almanac.

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Carl June pioneers novel gene therapy for leukemia treatment (9/12/11)

Carl June
The New York Times ©

Carl June, M.D., released the results of a clinical trial that utilized a novel form of gene therapy wherein the patient's own T-cells are reconfigured to specifically target and destroy cancerous cells. The reults were "sensational." Two out of the three patients in the study are still in remission more than year later.

The New York Times Science section, published on September 12, 2011, focused on the HIV-1 vectors that Dr. June utilized in this treatment.

Read the whole article at the New York Times.
Read more and see the video at ABC News.

View the PubMed Citation.

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Anne Teitelman appointed Patricia Bleznak Silverstein and Howard A. Silverstein Endowed Term Chair in Global Women's Health (9/12/11)

Dr. Anne Teitelman, has been appointed the Patricia Bleznak Silverstein and Howard A. Silverstein Endowed Term Chair in Global Women's Health.

More about the appointment from the Penn School of Nursing email announcement:

Anne Teitelman

The Patricia Bleznak Silverstein and Howard A. Silverstein Endowed Term Chair in Global Women's Health was created in June 2011 by the Howard A. Silverstein Foundation. After having served as chair of the Board of Overseers of the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA), Patricia Bleznak Silverstein was appointed to the School of Nursing's Board of Overseers in the fall of 2010. Previous to this, she had served as a lead volunteer for almost a year in planning for the School of Nursing's Healthy Cities: Healthy Women conference that was held in New York City in May 2011. We sincerely appreciate the generosity and support that Patricia Bleznak Silverstein and Howard A. Silverstein have given to the School of Nursing and we appreciate their continuous commitment to the global health of women.

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6th Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Network (SBSRN) Meeting (9/6/11)

SBSRNThe 6th Annual SBSRN National Scientific Meeting is scheduled to take place on March 1-2, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It will be co-hosted by the Centers for AIDS Research from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For more information and to register visit the Facebook page and the conference website.

 

 

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Rahul Kohli awarded a Rita Allen Foundation grant (9/6/11)

From the Penn Almanac, September 6, 2011:
Rahul Kohli

Dr. Rahul M. Kohli, assistant professor of medicine and biochemistry & biophysics in the Perelman School of Medicine, has received a $500,000 grant from the Rita Allen Foundation. He will receive $100,000 per year for five years as a 2011 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar. Dr. Kohli's lab is exploring the idea that DNA cytosine modifying enzymes can be used to introduce an added layer of complexity by muffling, amplifying or even rewriting parts of the genome. Understanding the dynamic genome has implications for advances in infectious diseases, stem cell biology and oncology, among other fields. The Rita Allen Foundation's mission includes supporting "transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems."

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Carrie Kovarik mentioned in the Journal of the National Cancern Institute (8/29/12)

An article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute mentioned Carrie Kovarik, M.D. in connection with her work developing a mobile telemedicine program in Botswana.

Carrie Kovarik

"In some rural and very poor areas, telemedicine has been combined with intensive training of healthcare workers to perform VIA. One such program in Botswana has been developed over 5 years by Carrie Kovarik, M.D., assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Kovarik and colleagues train nurses to perform VIA and transmit cell phone-captured images of these exams [cervixes treated with acetic acid] to gynecologists who serve as consultants, to verify whether or not a patient should be treated, and if so, how. When necessary, tissue samples are sent to remote pathology labs so a definitive diagnosis can be reached." Read the full article.

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Waheedah Shabazz-El represents community on UN advisory board (6/21/11)

Waheedah Shabazz-El

Waheedah Shabazz-El, Chair of the Penn CFAR Community Advisory Board, participated on the advisory board to the United Nations committee which prepared the statement "Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Intensifying our Efforts to Eliminate HIV and AIDS." She acted as a liaison between governmental functionaries and civil society members.

Visit the UNAIDS website or read the full report.

IAS/Steve Forrest/Workers' Photos

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Waheedah Shabazz-El speaks on ACTUP (6/7/11)

Waheedah Shabazz-El

Waheedah Shabazz-El, Chair of the Penn CFAR Community Advisory Board, was recently featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about the Philadelphia chapter of ACTUP. ACTUP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) has provided vital community organization and activism to mobilize resources against the AIDS epidemic across the country. They've successfully campaigned for needle exchanges, increased condom distrubution in prisons, and bringing AIDS treatment costs down in developing nations.

Read the whole article at the Philadelphia Inquirer

Credit: Bill Wadman

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Anne Teitelman receives Dean's Award for Scholarly Mentorship (4/20/11)

Anne Teitelman

Dr. Anne Teitelman, Assistant Professor of Nursing, is the recipient for the Dean's Award for MS/MSN Scholarly Mentorship:

For her inspirational mentoring that challenges her students to set their goals high, her honest and direct feedback, and for serving as a role model and leader in building a mutually rewarding relationship. "Dr. Teitelman was excellent at giving constructive feedback and sharing her expertise and resources, while also allowing me to be creative and make the project my own,? a former student and research assistant said. "She managed to simultaneously challenge me in my investigation and writing while instilling in me the confidence to do quality research."

Read more the 2011 Nursing awards here.

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Hans-Peter Kohler named Frederick J. Warren Professor (3/25/11)

Hans Peter Kohler

Hans-Peter Kohler, Ph.D., has been named the Frederick J. Warren Professor of Demography in the School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Kohler has been at the forefront of studies into sexual networks and the spread of HIV in Africa.

Read more about Dr. Kohler's appointment here.

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David Weiner awarded a Transformative Research Project Grant (3/17/11)

David Weiner David Weiner, Ph.D., professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine and Director of the Penn CFAR Immunology/Vaccine Research Program, was recently awarded a Transformative Research Project grant from NIH. He will recieve $3.2 million over 5 years to develop a universal flu vaccine. According to the NIH website, the T-R01 grants are designed to support "exceptionally innovative, high risk, original and/or unconventional research projects that have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms." Some traditional requirements for large grants, such as preliminary data requirements and caps on requesting funding, are waived in order to facilitate complex and creative projects.

Read more about T-R01s at NIH.gov and more about Dr. Weiner's award at Penn Medicine.

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Carl June presents exciting clinical trial data at CROI (3/3/11)

Carl June

At the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections held in Boston this week, Penn CFAR member Carl June, M.D. presented data from a recent clinical trial which tested the efficacy of a novel gene therapy technique on immune cells in HIV-positive patients. Today the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article about his findings. Pablo Tebas, M.D., the Penn CFAR Developmental Core Director, is also quoted in the article in respect to a clinical trial he will begin in June in collaboration with Dr. June.

Read the whole article.

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Jim Hoxie featured in Focus article about the "Berlin Patient" (2/11/11)

Jim Hoxie

The January 17, 2011 issue of Focus, a major German weekly news magazine, includes an article featuring the Director of the Penn CFAR, James Hoxie. The article is titled "Hoffnungstrager fur AIDS-Kranke" which roughly translates as "Bearer of Hope for AIDS Patients." Dr. Hoxie is featured in the article for the rare genetic mutation he carries that makes his blood resistant to AIDS. Study of these mutations led to the breakthrough by Dr. Gero H?tter and his famous "Berlin Patient." Dr. H?tter performed a bone marrow transplant on a patient with both leukemia and HIV utilizing cells that were HIV-resistant. The patient's HIV infection soon vanished, and three years later the patient appears HIV-free.

While we recommend the print version, which contains a dashing photo of Dr. Hoxie, you can access the whole article (in German) here.

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SBSRN Scientific Meeting featured in Observer (12/7/10)

SBSRNThe December 2010 issue of the Observer, the monthly newsletter of the Association for Psychological Sciences, contains an article about the history and mission of the CFAR Social and Behavior Sciences Research Network (SBSRN). The University of Pennsylvania hosted the first SBSRN scientific meeting in October 2006, and Penn CFAR faculty members David Metzger and Michael Blank were instrumental in making the network a reality.

An excerpt from the article:

So how does the SBSRN add value? By fulfilling their mission statement of fostering interdisciplinary and interCFAR collaboration, establishing partnerships with community-based organizations, creating mentorship opportunities, and holding an annual meeting. The annual meetings create a forum for networking and interdisciplinary discussions, but a uniform favorite of the annual meetings is the mentorship program and activities. Mentees, usually junior and transitional Investigators, include new assistant professors, as well as senior scientists new to AIDS research. The 15 to 20 mentees — selected through a competitive process — share ideas, receive feedback and connect with leading thinkers in the field. There are talks about grant mechanisms and the submission and review processes, as well as opportunities to talk with representatives from many institutes, such as the NIAID, NIDA, NIMH, and NICHD.

Since publication, the Observer has removed this article from online availability.

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Waheedah Shabazz-El, CAB Chair, Delivers Closing Speech at 2010 International AIDS Conference

A video of the closing session is available here: http://globalhealth.kff.org/AIDS2010/July-23/Closing-Session.aspx (Waheedah's speech begins at 1:29:22). Or see a complete Transcript of the Speech.