Research

Read about the scientists and their work in the HIV Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research at Meharry...

Ongoing research of Waldemar Popik, Ph.D., and his team focuses on the pathogenesis of HIV-1 associated nephropathy (HIVAN). Striking racial disparities in the frequency of HIVAN has led to the discovery of genetic variants of the APOL1 gene common in African Americans that predispose this population to the development of HIVAN. Research is focused on unraveling how HIV-1 interacts with APOL1 to trigger HIVAN in African Americans. Studies may help assess the risk for developing HIVAN and in designing novel therapeutic strategies.

Ongoing research in the lab of Donald Alcendor, Ph.D., focuses on a Vaginal model for HIV dissemination. The lab has developed a unique vaginal epithelial tissue microarray from women of different ethnic backgrounds and has established an in vitro system to examine the role that bacterial vaginosis has in HIV uptake across the vaginal epithelium.

Research in the lab of Bindong Liu, Ph.D., found a small molecule from an oral nonpathogenic bacteria has the ability to inhibit HIV-1 replication. The lab is currently in the process of purifying the molecule and testing its potential to be an anti-HIV/AIDS drug.

The overarching goal of research in the laboratory of Chandravanu (CV) Dash, Ph.D., is to understand how drugs of abuse contribute to HIV-1 pathogenesis. His laboratory focuses on understanding how cocaine modulates target cell biology to enhance HIV-1 replication. This work may identify pathways for a therapeutic intervention.

Research in the lab of Xinhong Dong, Ph.D., identified a novel host-HIV interaction required for late stages of the HIV-1 replication cycle. The lab is working on the development of novel peptide inhibitors to block this specific cell-virus interaction and inhibit HIV-1 replication.