On February 12, 2024, the Third Coast CFAR’s (TC CFAR) Viral Pathogenesis Core hosted an online workshop highlighting strengths in laboratory expertise and resources for HIV-related pathogenesis research. Selected Principal Investigators at RUSH and Northwestern Universities presented a series of brief talks focused on current and opportunities for cross-institutional collaborations using advanced methodologies. The goal of the workshop is to increase collaborative HIV research across Chicago universities.
PLEASE NOTE: The VP Core is planning a second workshop in the future highlighting HIV-related laboratory research at University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Chicago.
Introduction to VP Core Expertise in Building Productive Collaborations:
- Rich D’Aquila, MD, Northwestern University, and VP Core Co-Director
Selected HIV Laboratory Research Expertise at RUSH University:
Moderator: Tom Hope, PhD, Northwestern University, and VP Core Director
- Jeffrey Schneider, PhD, RUSH University
- João Mamede, PhD, RUSH University
Selected HIV Laboratory Research Expertise at Northwestern University:
Moderator: Rich D’Aquila, MD, Northwestern University
- Judd Hultquist, PhD, Northwestern University
- Ramon Lorenzo Redondo, PhD, Northwestern University
TC CFAR Resources and Funding Opportunities:
- VP Core equipment, assays, and consultative resources
Michael McRaven, Northwestern University
- Developmental Core awards
Elena Martinelli, PhD, Northwestern University
Discussion and Closing Remarks:
- Tom Hope and Rich D’Aquila
- Review selected productive collaborations previously supported by the TC CFAR and interest in helping launch new collaborations at and across Chicago universities.
- Highlight available HIV laboratory research expertise at RUSH University and Northwestern University.
- Improve familiarity with potential HIV research collaborators at RUSH University and Northwestern University.
- Summarize service resources and technology available for users across Chicago from the TC CFAR.
- Learn about advanced methodologies being developed and soon to be offered as services.
- Review TC CFAR funding opportunities for potential future collaborations.
- Help the TC CFAR to identify strengths and gaps in HIV-related pathogenesis research across Chicago.
- Help the TC CFAR learn how to better program future meetings highlighting additional universities’ HIV research.
Tom Hope, PhD, holds multiple appointments as a professor in the departments of cell and molecular biology, obstetrics and gynecology, and biomedical engineering at Northwestern University, and is the director of the VP Core. He applies cell biology approaches to HIV immunopathogenesis research, developing novel tools to visualize virions and infected cells. In non-human primates (NHP) infected with SIV, his lab identified locations and phenotypes of the earliest mucosal cells replicating virus using a range of fluorescent/luminescent reporter viruses and proteins. Recently, he helped advance PET-CT detection of virus proteins both in vivo and as a guide for multi-scale, multi-modal imaging of necropsied tissues. His lab also has studied anti-virus antibody distribution and function, as well as the mucus-epithelia interface. Intracellular imaging to study biology of the TRIM5a restriction factor provided insights into mechanisms of early virus replication.
Rich D’Aquila, MD, is the Howard Taylor Ricketts Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases at Northwestern University and is the co-director of the Third Coast CFAR, as well as the co-director of the VP Core. He focuses on identifying targets and mechanisms to advance anti-HIV therapeutics. Early on, he studied HIV reverse transcriptase and protease, helping develop more specific inhibitors/combinations, applying virus resistance testing as the first “personalized medicine” approach to optimize therapy for an individual, and characterizing effects of virus mutations selected by antiretrovirals (ART) on replicative fitness. Now, his laboratory focuses on leveraging cellular processes, particularly APOBEC3G, to sustain undetectable plasma viral load after stopping ART (“sustained remission” or “functional cure”) by decreasing both “reactivated” virion infectivity and target cell susceptibility to incoming virions.
Hope and D’Aquila have jointly led collaborations with multiple teams across the US on two TC CFAR-supported NIH grants. These will be briefly summarized at the workshop as examples of the expertise enabling the VP Core to help others across our institutions launch new endeavors on OAR high-priority, HIV pathogenesis collaborations.
Jeffrey Schneider, PhD, is an assistant professor in the department of microbial pathogens and immunity at RUSH University. His lab focuses on HIV antibody distribution. He has helped develop a platform to track intravenous injected fluorophore conjugated IgG in plasma, tissue, and weck-cel fluid. This methodology has led to a grant to study how the timing of antibody injection affects distal site accumulation of virus following challenge. Through a better understanding of how antibodies get to and fortify mucosal surfaces from incoming pathogens, this research has the potential to elucidate novel HIV prevention strategies with the ultimate goal of blocking initial HIV transmission. This work will help inform future passive immunization studies, such as the AMP (Antibody Mediated Prevention) trial which is currently underway and administering anti-HIV antibodies to at-risk individuals around the world. As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic emerged, Schneider has adapted his work with HIV antibodies to better understand the neutralizing antibody response in COVID-19 patients.
João Mamede, PhD, is an assistant professor in the department of microbial pathogens and immunity at RUSH University. He studies the interactions between viruses and their adaptations to their hosts. Mamede earned his PhD on Virology and Molecular Biology on his studies on cellular proteins that play an important role in the infection of circulating SIV from different monkey species and HIV-2 from a cohort of patients.
Judd Hultquist, PhD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Northwestern University. His laboratory specializes in the development and adaptation of high-throughput, quantitative, systems-based approaches for use in primary models of disease to better understand the host-pathogen relationship. Leveraging diverse expertise in primary cell models, proteomic profiling, and functional genomics, his team works at the intersection of systems biology and infectious disease, defining host-pathogen interactions and their consequences for replication and pathogenesis. Through these efforts, he ultimately hopes to strengthen the bridge from big data to targeted discovery to clinical application for the development of personalized, host-driven therapies and the advancement of human health.
Ramon Lorenzo Redondo, PhD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Northwestern University and the bioinformatics director of the Center for Pathogen Genomics and Microbial Evolution (CPGME) at Robert J. Havey, MD Institute for Global Health. His work focuses on viral evolution and the interaction between viruses and the host during infection. Lorenzo Redondo’s main interests are RNA viruses, especially HIV-1, evolutionary biology, and genomics. The goal of his research is to understand the virus-host system and its evolutionary properties in order to develop the best treatments and prevention strategies for human viral infections.
Mike McRaven, MSL, is the laboratory manager for the VP Core and manages the Thomas Hope Lab at Northwestern University. Hope’s laboratory has been a pioneer in the use of cell biology approaches to study HIV, providing images and movies of HIV interacting with cells and tissues.
Elena Martinelli, PhD, is a research professor in the department of cell and developmental biology at Northwestern University, co-director of the Third Coast CFAR’s Development Core, and was the previous co-director of the VP Core. She leads cutting-edge research that aims to advance our understanding of host-virus interactions and contribute to the design of therapeutic strategies for HIV and associated co-morbidities. Martinelli is an immunologist and virologist by training with decades of research experience focused on exploring mechanisms of HIV pathogenesis, identifying factors that facilitate infection, the formation of viral reservoirs, and investigating new therapeutic strategies. Martinelli has led several studies in humans and in non-human primates dissecting the role of Human Herpes Simplex-type 2 (HSV-2) infection and hormones on HIV/SIV acquisition and pathogenesis and was integral to the studies investigating the role of integrin α4β7 in HIV/SIV infection. Her more recent work focuses on testing novel immunotherapies for HIV functional cure and dissecting the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV2.