Brian Mustanski, PhD, tenured professor of medical social sciences, medicine (infectious diseases), and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has been named director of the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

Mustanski has helped lead the CFAR as co-director since it was established in 2015, working closely with former director, Richard D’Aquila, MD, the Howard Taylor Ricketts Professor of Medicine at Feinberg. As had been part of the center’s strategic plan since its inception, Mustanski will take over responsibility for all center activities as director. In his new role as director, Mustanski will continue to work with D’Aquila in a Multiple Principal Investigator leadership structure. D’Aquila will continue, now as co-director, to oversee the center’s programs in clinical, translational, and basic sciences.

Brian Mustanski, PhD, and Richard D’Aquila, MD

“I am exceptionally proud of what the Third Coast CFAR team has achieved over the last seven years,” said D’Aquila. “The center’s Developmental Core has awarded over $10 million to Third Coast CFAR faculty and community partners. As of Fiscal Year 2021, CFAR members lead an HIV research portfolio of over $32 million in NIH grants, a 70% increase since 2014. I am thrilled to continue working alongside Dr. Mustanski. I am confident that our great working relationship and complementary skills, along with the entire collaborative leadership team, will further propel the mission and successes of the Third Coast CFAR.”

Brian Mustanski, PhD, and Richard D’Aquila, MD

The Third Coast CFAR’s 200 faculty members represent seven schools and 26 departments between Northwestern and the University of Chicago. The center has expanded the scope of disciplines engaged in HIV research at each of its institutions. Their work spans the translational science spectrum and addresses many of the most important questions in HIV research, including improving engagement in the prevention and care continuums, managing AIDS comorbidities, and developing new technologies to deliver HIV prevention, cure, and treatment interventions. The Third Coast CFAR works closely with the Chicago and Illinois Departments of Public Health and dozens of community clinics and organizations throughout the Chicagoland area.

“I am honored to succeed Dr. D’Aquila as director of the Third Coast CFAR,” said Mustanski. “We have worked closely together to build such an amazing team, and I look forward to continuing to benefit from his guidance and the determination of the entire Third Coast CFAR faculty and staff to keep working to accomplish our mission. I hope that my background and experience as a bio-behavioral and implementation scientist, and all my experience with CFAR to date, will continue to contribute to the advancement of innovative, cross-disciplinary HIV research led by Third Coast CFAR members.”

The Third Coast CFAR launched in 2015 to catalyze and enhance cross-disciplinary HIV research led by Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, the Chicago and Illinois Departments of Public Health, and key community organizations, including Howard Brown Health, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Center on Halsted, AllianceChicago, and many others. The Third Coast CFAR (P30 AI117943) is co-funded by 11 institutes and the centers at the NIH, as well as a generous commitment from the Office of the Dean of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“Under Rich’s superb leadership during the last seven years, the Third Coast CFAR has made great strides in HIV research,” said Eric G. Neilson, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Brian has led the Third Coast CFAR’s efforts to bring implementation science to bear on ending the HIV epidemic. Brian’s leadership led to the establishment of an NIH national HIV implementation science resource hub here, and this continues to grow. Together, Rich and Brian’s forward-thinking, collaborative leadership model has spurred innovation and excellence. I am certain that the Third Coast CFAR will achieve many more breakthroughs in HIV research with Brian and Rich together at the helm.”

Mustanski received his psychology degree from Indiana University. In addition to leading the Third Coast CFAR, he is also the director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing—a global leader in LGBTQ health research. Mustanski is well known for research that spans disciplines and that moves evidence into practice. He has published over 350 peer-reviewed journal articles and Web of Science named him one of the most cited researchers across disciplines in the world. The majority of his research focuses on the health and development of LGBTQ youth and the application of new media and technology to sexual health promotion and HIV prevention. He has been a Principal Investigator of over $60 million in federal and foundation grants. Mustanski is a frequent advisor to federal agencies and other organizations on LGBTQ health and HIV prevention, including serving as an appointed member of the NIH National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities. In 2017, NBC News selected him from 1,600 nominees as one of 30 changemakers and innovators making a positive difference in the LGBTQ community.