SFU Canada Research Chairs Seminar Series: "HIV controllers: Template for an effective vaccine (or cure?) for AIDS"

Thursday, October 10, 2013
11:30 - 12:30

Dr. Mark Brockman
Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, SFU


HIV/AIDS continues to be a global health crisis. Over 34 million people worldwide (including approximately 75,000 Canadians) are currently living with HIV and over 2 million people become newly infected every year. Antiretroviral therapy is a significant advance in our fight against HIV, but treatment has been unable to meet the global need due to high costs of clinical monitoring and because drugs must be maintained for life to block reactivation of latent viral reservoirs. A vaccine against HIV could change the course of the global epidemic, but no effective candidates exist and our understanding of how to elicit protective host immune responses remains limited. Recent reports of individuals who have been “cured” of HIV infection have reinvigorated the field to identify mechanisms of viral latency and to develop strategies to eradicate viral reservoirs. Research in our laboratory explores HIV pathogenesis and the human immune response to viral infection. Our studies of rare individuals who spontaneously control HIV infection in the absence of therapy provide insights into new vaccine approaches and potential therapeutic targets. This talk will present our current understanding of host and viral factors that contribute to HIV pathogenesis and will highlight the utility of studying viral controllers to identify effective methods to prevent, contain, or eliminate HIV.