Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center (PMHARC)

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The Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center (PMHARC) Developmental Award Program

The PMHARC 2015 Call for Pilot Proposals has closed.

Please check back in early 2016 for our next funding cycle.

About our Pilot Projects Program

The Developmental Core (Core B) of the Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center (PMHARC) seeks to help build an integrated research infrastructure that can stimulate new research and support investigators as they design and implement innovative biological and behavioral studies on the treatment of mental illness among individuals with HIV/AIDS, in part through the funding of short term (one-year) pilot projects.  The particular focus of Core B is on the development of new investigators, transitional investigators and collaborations that have the capacity to develop and test innovative, integrated treatments to optimize psychiatric, behavioral, and medical outcomes and to achieve a better understanding of the biological, psychological, and behavioral mechanisms underlying these combined illnesses and treatments. 

Concordant with the mission of the PMHARC, pilot funds will support: 1) new faculty members who are beginning their research careers in mental health and HIV research, 2) investigators with established research programs who are transitioning to HIV and mental health research, and, 3) established AIDS investigators who have not directed their research at issues of psychiatric disorder or the treatment of mental illness.

Funded Pilots

2014 Pilots

  • CSF and Plasma sCD163, FABP3 and sIR as Biomarkers of Neuropsychiatric Impairment in HIV-Seropositive Women (Steven Arnold, MD (Psychiatry), Valerie E. Wojna, MD (Neurology, University of Puerto Rico), Steven D. Douglas, MD (CHOP))
  • Does the Severity of Substance Use Disorders Affect Neurocognitive Functioning of HIV+ Patients? (Donna Coviello, PhD (Psychiatry), George Woody, PhD (Psychiatry/Addictions))
  • Barriers to Engagement and Retention in Care among HIV+ Transgender Youth with Psychiatric Co-Morbidities (Nadia L. Dowshen, MD (Pediatrics, CHOP), Frances K. Barg, PhD, MEd (Family Medicine and Community Health), Marne Castillo, PhD, MEd (Connect to Protect CHOP), Benoit Dubé, MD (Psychiatry), Linda A. Hawkins, PhD (Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic, CHOP))
  • The Impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on HIV care Retention (Carmen McLean, PhD (Psychiatry), Edna Foa, PhD (Psychiatry))
  • A Pilot study of Lifestyle Modification for Weight Loss in Persons with Obesity, HIV/AIDS and Major Depression (David Sarwer, PhD (Psychiatry), Lucy Hemsley-Faulconbridge, PhD (Psychiatry), Rexford S. Ahima, MD, PhD (Medicine))
  • Computer-Assisted Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Depressed, HIV+ People Taking Antiviral Medications (Michael Thase, MD (Psychiatry))

2013 Pilots

  • Mid-Life Cognitive Function in HIV+ Individuals: Impact of Endocrine and Immune Status (C. Neill Epperson, MD (Psychiatry), Liisa Hantsoo, PhD (Psychiatry))
  • Treatment of Insomnia with Zaleplon in HIV Positive Patients with Comorbid Depression (Matthew Kayser, MD, PhD (Psychiatry), Michael Thase, MD (Psychiatry))
  • The Impact of Personal Relevance and Depression on Brain and Behavioral Effects of HIV Prevention PSAs in HIV-Positive MSM (Daniel Langleben, MD (Psychiatry), An-Li Wang, D.Phil (Annenberg))
  • Predictors of HIV-Associated Psychiatric Distress and Neurocognitive Decline in a Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Sample (Iman Martin, PHD, MPH, M.Sc. (Psychiatry), Ruben Gur, PhD (Psychiatry), Raquel Gur, MD, PhD (Psychiatry))
  • Immune and Neuroimaging Biomarker Correlations between Depression and HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders in HIV-Infected Youth (Jennifer McGuire, MD (Neurology, CHOP), Brenda Banwell, MD (Neurology, CHOP), Tami Benton, MD (Psychiatry, CHOP), Linda Hawkins, PhD, LPC (Pediatrics, CHOP))
  • Evaluation of the HIV Treatment Cascade for HIV-Infected Persons with Mental Illness (Baligh Yehia, MD, MPP, MSHP (Medicine/ID), Kathleen Brady, MD (Philadelphia Department of Public Health), Benoit Dube, MD (Psychiatry), Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH (Epidemiology and Nursing), Robert Gross, MD, MSCE (Medicine/ID and Epidemiology))