Viral Pathogenesis Core

The Viral Pathogenesis (VP) Core provides services, consultation, and navigation to specialized molecular, cellular, and imaging technologies that advance multi-disciplinary, high priority HIV research of Third Coast CFAR members. The core’s highly sophisticated instrumentation, experienced technical support, and expert consultation / navigation are equally available to molecular virologists, clinical/translational researchers, and behavioral scientists.

Services and Resources


Virology Methods and Custom Assays

The VP Core provides cost-efficient, fee-for-service assays including virus (HIVs, SIVs) quantification by ELISA and PCR. Services to design and run custom assays to measure HIV-relevant biomarkers (such as cytokines, chemokines, C-reactive protein in plasma) for studies in basic, translational, and behavioral science are also available.


Genomic Services

Members may access up-to-date next generation sequencing platforms and analyses to facilitate laboratory and translational HIV research.


Laboratory Infrastructure and Viral Stock

Access to a variety of virology infrastructure and laboratory needs are available from the VP Core, including the biosafety level 2+ (BLS2+) facility for safely performing HIV/SIV infections ex vivo, and associated training. A well characterized viral stock bank is also available. Mucosal cells and tissue, banked plasma, and other specimens are also available in collaboration with the Clinical Sciences Core.


Expert Consultation

The VP Core offers a consultation service designed to provide insight and expertise in the design of biological experiments and choice of assays, including recommendations on a choice of reagents including cell lines, virus isolates, assays for quantification, and conditions of the experiment. Consultants from the core’s Data Insight Group (DIG) will direct users to the appropriate use of the aforementioned laboratory infrastructure and banks, and assist investigators who need specimen types not yet routinely available. The DIG’s expertise includes structural biology, single cell -omics, 3D imaging, and evolutionary virology.


Imaging and Microscopy

The VP Core imaging facility is a mecca for local Third Coast CFAR members, as well as (with approval) collaborating national and international researchers seeking training. Four Delta vision deconvolution microscope systems are available, as well as an OMX structured illumination-based (SIM) super resolution system. A general use fluorescence microscope with three cameras and microinjection capabilities is also a Core service.


Viral Pathogenesis Journal Club

The VP Core invites researchers and research trainees to join in lively, interactive critical assessment and discussion of recent peer-reviewed papers that focus on topics including, but not limited to, HIV-related virology, immunology, pathogenesis, treatment, and vaccine design. Please contact Damon Williams to join the mailing list, and indicate interest in rotating as a presenter. The Viral Pathogenesis Journal Club meets on the first and third Monday of each month.


To request Viral Pathogenesis Core services, contact Justin Schmandt or visit the Find a Service page.


Thomas J. Hope, PhD, Northwestern University
Viral Pathogenesis Core Director

Elena Martinelli, PhD, Northwestern University
Viral Pathogenesis Core Associate Director