Una O'Doherty, M.D.Ph.D.

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Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Therapeutic Pathology
Division of Transfusion Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
705 Stellar Chance Laboratory
422 Curie Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 573-7273
Fax: (215) 573-5369
Education:
B.S. (Biochemistry)
Barnard College, New York, NY - cum laude, 1987.
Ph.D.
The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, Advisors: Drs. Nina Bhardwaj and Ralph M. Steinman, 1994.
M.D.
Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY, 1995.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
HIV-1 latency.

Key words: HIV, latency, reservoirs, dendritic cells, viral pathogenesis, proviral integration, retrovirus, virology, T cell activation, resting T cells.

Description of Research
Highly active anti-retroviral therapy can clear the blood of HIV-1 virions. But, despite long-term suppression of virus, when the drugs are stopped the virus returns. Thus, reservoirs of latent, treatment-resistant HIV-1 exist in infected individuals and are a major barrier to cure. With the advent of ART, the challenge in the field of HIV is to clear the remaining reservoir. The challenge is significant since the reservoir is very small - less than 1 in a million CD4+ T cells are true HIV reservoir cells. Moreover, identifying the true reservoir is made more difficult because it is hidden among many defective HIV proviruses.

To better understand the challenge to cure HIV, we quantify the reservoir and to measure how much reservoir expression occurs at baseline and to what extent the reservoir visibility can be increased by stimulation. A major hurdle that we face in these studies is to distinguish replication competent HIV from defective proviruses. We believe that we have identified a technology that largely overcomes this hurdle. Our approach utilizes Fiber-optic Array Scanning Technology (or FAST) to identify rare cells that can express HIV proteins at high levels. The technique is largely based on approaches for rare cancer cell detection.

Our lab also studies HIV reservoirs by using an in vitro model that we developed and characterized. We have shown that this model mimics many important aspects of HIV in vivo. This model allows us probe the important differences between the latent and productive state of HIV infection. We are keenly interested to probe why HIV expression is less efficient in latently infected cells. This is an underexplored area that can be addresses with current sequencing and proteomic approaches.

Rotation Projects
1. Characterize the ability of FAST technology to distinguish and quantify replication competent proviruses from defective proviruses.
2. Characterize the frequency of replication competent proviruses in different patient populations.
3. Probe the mechanistic differences between latent and productive HIV Infection.


Lab personnel:

Marilia Pinzone - Postdoctoral fellow
Maria Paola Bertuccio - Postdoctoral fellow
LaMont Cannon - Postdoctoral fellow
Emmanuele Venanzi-Rullo - Infectious Diesease Fellow

Selected Publications

Venanzi Rullo E, Cannon L Pinzone MR, Ceccarelli M, Nunnari G, O'Doherty U: "Genetic evidence that Naïve T cells can contribute significantly to the HIV intact reservoir: time to re-evaluate their role". Clinical infectious diseases May 2019.

Thibodeaux SR, Tanhehco YC, Irwin L Jamensky L, Schell K, O'Doherty U: More efficient exchange of sickle red blood cells can be achieved by exchanging the densest red blood cells: An ex vivo proof of concept study. Transfusion and apheresis science 58(1): 100-106, Feb 2019.

Pinzone MR, VanBelzen DJ, Weissman S, Bertuccio MP, Cannon L, Venanzi-Rullo E, Migueles S, Jones RB, Mota T Joseph SB, Groen K, Pasternak AO, Hwang WT, Sherman B, Vourekas A, Nunnari G, O'Doherty U: Longitudinal HIV sequencing reveals reservoir expression leading to decay which is obscured by clonal expansion. Nature communications 10(1): 728, 02 2019.

Steven LM, Huang K, VanBelzen DJ, Montaner LJ, O'Doherty U, Richman DD: Quantitation of integrated HIV provirus by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and droplet digital PCR. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 56(12): pii: JCM.01158-18, Sep 2018 Notes: doi: 10.1128/JCM.01158-18. [Epub ahead of print]

Bachtel ND, Umviligihozo G, Pickering S, Mota TM, Liang H, Del Prete GQ, Chatterjee P, Lee GQ, Thomas R, Brockman MA, Neil S, Carrington M, Bwana B, Bangsberg DR, Martin JN, Kallas EG, Donini CS, Cerqueira NB, O'Doherty UT, Hahn BH, Jones RB, Brumme ZL, Nixon DF, Apps R: HLA-C downregulation by HIV-1 adapts to host HLA genotype. PLoS Pathogens 14(9): e1007257, Sep 2018.

Villa CH, Porturas T, Sell M, Wall M, DeLeo G, Fetters J, Mignono S, Irwin L, Hwang WT, O'Doherty U: Rapid prediction of stem cell mobilization using volume and conductivity data from automated hematology analyzers. Transfusion 58(2): 330-338, Feb 2018.

Natesampillai S, Cummins NW, Nie Z, Sampath R, Baker JV, Henry K, Pinzone M, O'Doherty U, Polley EC, Bren GD, Katzmann DJ, Badley AD: HIV Protease-generated Casp8p41, when bound and inactivated by Bcl2, is degraded by the proteasome. Journal of Virology 92(13), 07 2018.

Strongin Z, Sharaf R, VanBelzen DJ, Jacobson JM, Connick E, Volberding P, Skiest DJ, Gandhi RT, Kuritzkes DR, O'Doherty U, Li JZ: Effect of short-term antiretroviral therapy interruption on levels of integrated HIV DNA. Journal of Virology 92(12), 06 2018.

Tapia G, Højen JF, Ökvist M, Olesen R, Leth S, Nissen S K, VanBelzen DJ, O'Doherty U, Mørk A, Krogsgaard K, Søgaard OS, Østergaard L, Tolstrup M, Pantaleo G, Sommerfelt MA: Sequential Vacc-4x and romidepsin during combination antiretroviral therapy (cART): Immune responses to Vacc-4x regions on p24 and changes in HIV reservoirs. The Journal of Infection 75(6): 555-571, Dec 2017.

Pinzone MR, Graf E, Lynch L, McLaughlin B, Hecht FM, Connors M, Migueles SA, Hwang WT, Nunnari G, O'Doherty U: Monitoring integration over time supports a role for cytotoxic T lymphocytes and ongoing replication as determinants of reservoir size. Journal of Virology 90(23): 10436-10445, Dec 2016.

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Last updated: 09/06/2019
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