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Current News

Anne Teitelman, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN received Article of the Year from the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care

The Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) honors research led by Anne Teitelman, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, Associate Professor Emerita in Penn Nursing’s Department of Family and Community Health, as the 2021 JANAC (Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care) Article of the Year.

Teitelman’s  research team and their article, Just4Us: Development of a Counselor Navigator and Text Message Intervention to Promote PreP Uptake among Cisgender Women at Elevated Risk for HIV, will be honored during the 34th Annual ANAC Conference in Washington, D.C., November 11-13th, 2021.  Read more HERE, and click here to download a podcast featuring Dr. Teitelman in which she discusses this article.

Dr. Ghose receives a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award

Dr. Toorjo Ghose, MSW, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to India. Ghose will be hosted by Presidency University in Kolkata as part of a project to document and teach about the strategies deployed by sex workers to negotiate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more HERE

Dr. Vahedi receives a Burroughs Welcome Award

Dr. Golnaz Vahedi, PhD, Assistant Professor of Genetics at the Institute for Immunology, has received a Burroughs Welcome Award. Please see a description of Dr. Vahedi's proposal below:

"Our goal is to understand how lentiviruses change the linear and three-dimensional (3D) organization of the host genome. Propelled by rapid technological advances, the field of epigenomics is enjoying unprecedented growth with no sign of deceleration. Despite this progress, these techniques are underutilized in studying host-pathogen interactions and particularly the associations of lentiviruses and the host chromatin remain largely understudied. Our proposed methods and their application to cells from HIV-1 patients will pave the way to define a connection between integration and silencing of the viral genome occurring during HIV-1 latency, which remains a significant obstacle to eradicate HIV-1 infection."

Project RIDE (Rapid Initiation of Drug treatment Engagement)

David Metzger, PhD, Director of the CFAR Prevention Science & Community Engagement Core, is featured in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about Project RIDE (Rapid Initiation of Drug treatment Engagement), a mobile addiction treatment center that aims to get people who need it started on buprenorphine, an opioid-based medication that helps ease withdrawal and curb cravings. "A mobile addiction treatment center battles stigma, shame, and rising overdoses in South Philly" (Philadelphia Inquirer, December 28th, 2019)

Greg Bisson elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation

CFAR member Greg Bisson, MD, MSCE, has been elected into the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is one of only 80 members elected this year, and will be officially inducted at the annual ASCI meeting in April.

Testing the testers

As part of the effort to end HIV in the U.S. by 2030, researchers at the School of Nursing are using mystery-shopper methodology to test the quality of HIV/STI testing for young men who have sex with men (YMSM). “This study’s systematic collection of YMSM’s experiences when seeking HIV testing and prevention services in three large metropolitan areas is an important step toward improving these services for youth,” José A. Bauermeister says.

Vaccine Progress

A novel vaccine developed by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine protected almost all animal subjects exposed to the herpes virus. The immunization led to “mostly sterilizing immunity” from the virus—the strongest type of immunity. This success paves the way for a round of human studies to test the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, says principal investigator Harvey Friedman.

Samuel Weissman of the O’Doherty Lab won second place in this year's Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. The award includes $175,000 in prize money. Dr. O'Doherty met Sam through her son Liam. "Sam [a friend of Liam] started pestering me to volunteer in my lab several years ago. I was admittedly reluctant, but Sam soon proved useful. After learning to code in R, he developed methods to analyze longitudinal HIV sequences." 

Sam is one of three co-first authors on a paper published in Nature Communications which studied the dynamics of the HIV reservoir by longitudinal proviral sequencing []  This work suggests that the HIV reservoir is highly dynamic but this is masked by two opposing forces that contribute to HIV persistence. Both forces are generated by transcription leading to (1) HIV translation and reservoir clearance, or (2) aberrant splicing to downstream human exons that can lead to cell division. Sam plans to save this money for college (or perhaps make a down payment for a Ferrari 488).  This coming year, Sam will work full-time in the O’Doherty lab.

José Bauermeister, Presidential Professor of Nursing and Director of the CFAR Technologies to Reduce HIV Disparities Scientific Working Group, has developed an online tool designed to decrease sexual risk-taking and promote HIV/STI prevention behaviors among young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (YGBMSM), many of whom frequently meet their partners online.

Dr. Drew Weissman, who has developed nucleoside-modified mRNA-lipid nanoparticle (LNP) as a novel platform for vaccines, showed that the vaccine and LNPs specifically induce high levels of T follicular helper cells (Tfh). Tfh cells form germinal centers (GC) and drive GC B cells to proliferate, somatically mutate, class switch, and form long-term memory, which are critical for HIV vaccine development. In addition to HIV, the vaccine platform has applications to many different viral, bacterial, and parasitic pathogens.


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