The Third Coast Center for AIDS Research (TC CFAR) is pleased to announce new leaders of its Clinical Sciences Core. Jessica Ridgway, MD, MS, at the University of Chicago, is now the director of the CS Core. Jennifer Jao, MD, MPH, at Northwestern University and Lurie Children’s Hospital, is the co-director for pediatrics and metabolism of the CS Core.

“I’m proud to welcome these stars in HIV research to their new leadership roles in the CS Core,” said Rich D’Aquila, MD, co-director of the TC CFAR. “Jessica and Jennifer have already made significant contributions to the CS Core and lead impressive independent HIV research portfolios. They are both very dedicated to our center, and I look forward to continuing our work together to advance the aims of the CS Core.”

Jessica Ridgway
Jessica Ridgway, MD, MS

The CS Core provides a broad range of services to CFAR members from across all disciplines of HIV research. The Core’s specific aims include expanding clinical research resources for clinical and laboratory investigators, catalyzing more research on non-AIDS comorbidities, and expanding research collaborations and linkages among participants, clinical researchers, care providers, and implementation partners. As director and co-director of the CS Core, Ridgway and Jao will provide new vision and leadership, particularly as the Core increases its focus on population health research and HIV comorbidities research.

Ridgway is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of predictive analytics for the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination. Her research utilizes large electronic medical record databases to understand HIV epidemiology across the continuum of care. She studies implementation of clinical informatics approaches for improving HIV care and prevention, with a specific focus on HIV prevention among cisgender women.

Jao is a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Susan B. DePree Founders’ Board Professor in Pediatric, Adolescent, and Maternal HIV Infection, and director of the Section of Pediatric, Adolescent, and Maternal HIV Infection at Lurie Children’s. Her research examines the metabolic complications of HIV and its treatment in pregnant individuals living with HIV and their children. She is the principal investigator of multiple NIH-funded studies in the US and Africa.

Jennifer Jao
Jennifer Jao, MD, MPH

Both Ridgway and Jao have led recent CS Core workshops on Population Health and Patient Portal Mental Health Screening for People Living with HIV and HIV and Cardiovascular Disease: Unpacking the REPRIEVE Study.

“Leading the CS Core means a lot to me because I have served on the Core for eight years and it has provided invaluable services and resources for me and numerous CFAR members,” said Ridgway. “I have received several CFAR awards which advanced my career development and supported many new NIH grants. As the new director of the CS Core, I look forward to mentoring early-stage investigators and energizing new HIV research collaborations across Chicago.”

The CS Core’s current Director, Babafemi Taiwo, MBBS, at Northwestern University, will serve as a mentor to the new leaders and will join the TC CFAR’s internal advisory board with oversight of the CS Core.

“It is an honor to continue to serve on the Core leadership team and to contribute expertise in pediatrics and metabolomics,” said Jao. “I am eager to bring investigators from other fields into HIV and collaborate with Jessica and the rest of the Core.”