Overview

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846-1912)

Like the transformational Chicago architect, Daniel Burnham, the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) has a grand vision – to end the HIV epidemic, with Chicago as a national model for high-impact research collaborations. Third Coast CFAR partners include 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, and AllianceChicago.

Specific Aims

Our mission is to catalyze cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary HIV research collaborations with a broad scope and major impact on the HIV epidemic in Chicago. The Third Coast CFAR will fulfill this mission through the following specific aims.

Specific Aim 1: To continue and expand collaborative research that will slow, and eventually stop, the HIV epidemic by improving continuums of HIV prevention and care.

Teams of behavioral and social scientists, public health professionals, and biomedical researchers are designing, testing, and optimizing implementation of strategies to close gaps for vulnerable populations at risk for HIV acquisition, and persons living with HIV (PLWH). This builds on our strengths in research with young men who have sex with men, transgender women, and black/African American communities.

Specific Aim 2: To advance understanding of accelerated aging-related illnesses (non-AIDS comorbidities) that continue to occur disproportionately among PLWH despite suppression of HIV viremia.

The Third Coast CFAR is working to expand research on accelerated aging in persons living with well-treated HIV. This includes defining causative mechanisms, clinical phenotyping, and assessing/developing interventions. Our nation-leading observational cohorts of those at-risk and living with HIV are building bi-directionally beneficial collaborations with experts in aging mechanisms and aging-related diseases. A new NHLBI K12 program to advance research careers of junior faculty teams TC CFAR’s HIV mentors with highly accomplished non-HIV heart and sleep researchers.

Specific Aim 3: To speed discovery, and empower development, of transformative scientific innovations that will improve HIV prevention and treatment for persons living with HIV.

Researchers focused on discovering and developing new interventions and diagnostics are generating innovations by building on strengths in imaging, virology, engineering, medicinal chemistry, data science / computation, clinical / translational research, and quantitative market research. This aims to fuel advances in pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), non-AIDS comorbidities prevention/management, as well as sustaining remission after stopping ART.

National CFAR Network

The Third Coast CFAR is one of a national network of Centers for AIDS Research, the purpose of which is to synergistically enhance and coordinate high quality HIV research projects. The  emphasis is on collaboration between basic and clinical investigators in order to enhance translational research — a type of research in which findings from the laboratory and behavioral science are brought to the clinic and vice versa. In doing this work, we aim to value diversity, inclusion, and community engagement.