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.

The Data Insight Group (DIG) comprises of our experts from Northwestern University and University of Chicago (see below) and offers consultation on experimental design, execution, and data analysis for clinical, preclinical or basic research studies that involve large data sets, genomics, transcriptomics, multi-omics, and/or systems biology and non-human primate (NHP) studies.

Judd Hultquist, PhD, is an assistant professor in infectious diseases and associate director for the Center for Pathogen Genomics and Microbial Evolution at Northwestern University. His lab specializes in the development and application of systems biology approaches to interrogate host-pathogen relationships in primary models of disease. He can provide consultation on the practical application of high-throughput and systems-level approaches to molecular virology. Specific areas of expertise include proteomics, pathogen genomics, functional genomics, gene editing, and host-pathogen interactions.

Ramon Lorenzo-Redondo, PhD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Lorenzo-Redondo is available for consultation on projects related to HIV/SIV and other viruses that focus on viral genomics, molecular evolution and virus-host interactions. Moreover, he has expertise in Deep Molecular Sequencing, Complex Data Analysis, Genomics, Statistical Modeling, and Phylogenetic and Phylodynamic Analyses. 

Elena Martinelli, PhD, MPH, is a research professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She has led several large preclinical and basic biology studies in non-human primates (NHP) as model for HIV/AIDS. She is available for consultation on the design and planning of NHP studies for preclinical testing of HIV prevention and cure strategies as well as basic biology and mechanistic studies using NHP models.


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 email Angel Aviña to join the mailing list, and indicate interest in rotating as a presenter. The Viral Pathogenesis Journal Club meets on two Mondays per month from noon to 1:00 p.m.

Request Services

Request VP Core services on the Find a Service page. Contact Angel Aviña with questions about the VP Core.


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

Richard D’Aquila, MD, Northwestern University
Viral Pathogenesis Core Co-Director