The laboratory has been involved with HIV/AIDS research since the beginning of the epidemic. Current ongoing research examines HIV pathogenesis with a particular emphasis on host-virus interactions, and the associations of host genetic variants on HIV diseases progression and HIV-related diseases including CNS impairment in children and adults. The laboratory’s interest in the identification of host factors that affect HIV pathogenesis led us to the novel finding that during permissive infection, HIV down-regulates autophagy to promote its own replication, and the induction of autophagy (using mTOR inhibitors as well as vitamin D3) inhibits HIV replication. The laboratory has also identified specific host genetic variants that are associated with mother-to-child transmission, HIV disease progression, and antiretroviral pharmacokinetics and adverse effects. This research has led to our examining the association of host factors that control HIV replication with the goal of identifying novel strategies to eradicate HIV from those infected.
Clinical research and patient care takes place at the UCSD Mother, Child, and Adolescent HIV Program
Stephen A. Spector, M.D., initially developed a clinic for children with HIV and later created a clinic for their mothers. In 1991, the program expanded to provide comprehensive prenatal/HIV care for women. In 1996, we organized a program designed to meet the specific needs of adolescents and young adults (ages 13-24) living with HIV. The UCSD Mother, Child & Adolescent HIV Program provides comprehensive, family centered HIV care to women, children and youth. A multidisciplinary team of HIV specialists provides medical care, clinical research trials, patient education, counseling, case management, peer advocacy, and community education