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TOPIC: HIVClear

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Aarthi Narayanan

Research Assistant Professor

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Expertise: Proteomics, vaccines, viral, infecticious diseases, HIV,

Aarthi Narayanan completed her PhD at the University of Georgia; her post doctoral research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

"The first major focus of my research is to understand host responses to infection by bunyaviruses such as Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), alphaviruses such as Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus (VEEV) and human retroviruses such as HIV.  Specifically, I am interested in deciphering the influences of specific phosphosignaling events occurring in infected host cells that correlate with viral replication and in utilizing such events that are crucial for pathogen replication to design novel therapeutic inhibitors.  In addition to identifying novel therapeutic candidates, my research interest also extends to defining the mechanistic basis behind pathogen inhibition when using host-based therapeutics."

"The second aspect of my research focus includes extracellular membranous vesicles called exosomes, specifically those produced by virally infected cells (Bunyaviruses, Alphaviruses, Human retroviruses).  Exosomes from infected cells will differ significantly in a proteomic and genomic capacity from those produced by uninfected cells.  Such information can be exploited to understand transfer for genetic and proteomic information to naïve cells (intercellular communication).   Such information can also be utilized to discover novel disease/pathogen specific biomarkers, vaccine and therapeutic candidates."

 

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781, mmcdon15@gmu.edu

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Yuntao Wu

Professor, Molecular and Microbiology

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Expertise: AIDS, HIV, Virology, Infectious Diseases

Wu, assistant professor in the College of Science’s Molecular and Microbiology Department, has spent the last six years decoding the molecular processes of the AIDS virus. AIDS, a devastating disease that is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), affected more than 33 million people worldwide in 2007, according to World Health Organization statistics. A widely published researcher whose work has appeared in prestigious scientific journals such as Science, Journal of Virology, Virology, Retrovirology and Current HIV Research, Wu believes that a solution to the AIDS epidemic is possible. The 2009 NYCDC AIDS Ride (http://nycdc.org), which takes place in September, will support the next stage of Dr. Wu's research which has the potential to stop the HIV virus from becoming AIDS. Wu earned a doctorate in virology in 1998 from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, after spending four years studying the DNA replication of the baculovirus family — a group of viruses that are fatal to insects and are often used for nonchemical pest control. He subsequently served for four years as a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he began examining HIV infection in humans prior to joining Mason’s faculty in 2003. Wu has been the recipient of many awards and honors including the 2007 "Tomorrow's PIs" by Genome Technology Magazine, the 2006 Siemens Mentor Award by the Siemens Foundation, and the 2003 NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence by NIH. His research interests include HIV infection of resting CD4 T cells and lentiviral vector development for targeting HIV infection.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781, mmcdon15@gmu.edu