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Judie Alimonti
Home Country: Canada
Degree: BSc Microbiology
PhD Immunology
Supervisor:


Project Title:
Dr. Keith R. Fowke
Associate Professor, Medical Microbilogy, University of Manitoba
HIV Specific CD4 Immune Responses
Description of the Project: Approximately 5-10% of the women in the Pumwami (Nairobi, Kenya) commercial sex worker cohort have been identified as HIV resistant despite having up to 500 unprotected sexual exposures to HIV-infected clients. The cell mediated immune response plays a strong role in HIV resistance, and it is the CD4+ T helper (Th) cells that regulate this response. The Th cell contributes to viral clearance by governing the induction and magnitude of the CTL and humoral immune responses, as well as produce chemokines that inhibit HIV infection. Since Th cells have a role in viral resistance we examined the Th immune response in infected versus naturally resistant women enrolled in the Pumwami cohort in Nairobi. We hypothesize that the HIV specific Th responses in resistant individuals are qualitatively and quantitatively different from HIV infected individuals.
 
Zhujun Ao
Home Country: China
Degree:

PH.D. 2001-2007, University of Montreal, Microbiology and Immunology
M.Sc. 1988-1991, Histology and Embryology, Tonji University of Medicine, Wuhan, China
M.D. 1980-1985, Zunyi University of Medicine, Zunyi, China

Supervisor:


Project Title:
Dr. Xiaojian Yao

Investigation of mechanism underlying anti-HIV action of R88-A3G: Development of a potent anti-HIV approach in primary CD4+ T cells and macrophages
Description of the Project: APOBEC3G (A3G), a deoxycytidine deaminase, is a powerful host antiviral factor that can restrict HIV-1 infection. However, during the wild-type HIV-1 infection, the antiviral effects of A3G are counteracted by the presence of viral protein Vif. Recently, we have demonstrated that A3G could overcome HIV-1 Vif’s barrier and incorporate into virus through an alterative pathway, Vpr1-88-A3G (R-A3G) fusion protein, and significantly restrict Vif+ HIV infection. In this study, we will further characterize and optimize the R88-A3G fusion proteins and investigate their anti-HIV activities in human primary peripheral blood monocytes (PBMCs) and macrophages.
 
Genevieve Boily-Larouche
Home Country: Canada
Degree: U of Manitoba, post-doctoral fellow PhD in Virology and Immunology from the University of Montreal BSc in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Montreal
Supervisor:


Project Title:

Dr. Keith Fowke

Longitudinal analysis of immune quiescence and the impact of sex work in HIV Exposed Seronegative (HESN) sex workers from Nairobi, Kenya

Description of the Project: The Pumwani Sex Worker Cohort from Nairobi, Kenya, contains a small sub-group of women who are intensively exposed to HIV-1 yet remain uninfected. Previous studies from HIV resistant commercial sex workers have provided strong evidence of an immunologically quiescent phenotype among these women. Multiple factors may drive immune quiescence in HIV Exposed Seronegative (HESN) sex workers and contribute to their reduced susceptibility to HIV infection. Sex work results in exposure to very strong immune stimulants and affects the level of immune activation. This project will study the impact of sex work on peripheral and mucosal immunological factors in a longitudinal analysis of mucosal immune quiescence.
 
Joyee Antony George
Home Country: India
Degree: MSc. Microbiology, M.S. University, India
Ph.D. Microbilogy, University of Madras, India
Supervisor:


Project Title:

Dr. Xi Yang

Immune responses in chlamydial infection

Description of the Project: The study will focus on investigating the immune responses in chlamydial infection. The role of cytokines and T-cell mediated responses will be studied. The elucidation of mechanisms of protective and pathological responses to chlamydial infection would provide a clearer understanding of the immunological basis of chlamydial infection, which would ultimately help in designing effective vaccine candidates for Chlamydia.
 
Kaveri Gurav
Home Country: India
Degree: PhD: Anthropology, Karnatak university, Dharwad, India MSc: Anthropology, (Physical anthropology), Karnatak university, Dharwad, India PG Diploma: women studies , Karnatak university, Dharwad, India
Supervisor:


Project Title:

Dr. James Blanchard

Vulnerabilities associated with migration of female sex workers (FSWs) in India

Description of the Project: The project will take place in rural Karnataka, India. The study will seek to answer the following question: Are underlying factors, such as caste structure, migration, levels of poverty, social capital, types of employment, relations among different religions, etc., impacting more proximate factors (e.g., risk behaviour, sex work, sexually transmitted infections, etc.) and ultimately impacting HIV/AIDS rates? The study will first develop and pre-test village-level data collection tools. It will then conduct a data collection process from a sample frame of 7500 villages. The data will be analyzed for reliability and validity purposes. Further analyses will test hypotheses of community level risk factors for HIV/AIDS.
 
Shamshad Khan
Home Country: India
Degree: PhD in Communication (Simon Fraser University, Canada); Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Global Public Health, University of Manitoba MPhil in Social Sciences in Health (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India) MA in History (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India)
Supervisor:


Project Title:

Dr. Robert Lorway

Community-based Ownership and Uptake of Future HIV Vaccine Programs among MSM and FSWs in India

Description of the Project: This study aims to explore the acceptability and community-based ownership of future HIV vaccine programs among MSM and FSWs in India. While the recently reported “moderate efficacy” of an HIV vaccine trial in Thailand has raised hope that an efficacious preventive vaccine will be released in the not too distant future, it cannot be assumed that the availability of such a vaccine will ensure a population’s uptake. Using ethnographic research design, this study particularly explores the following question: given the intense stigma and discrimination that inhibit MSM/FSWs from accessing health services and prevention technologies in India, how will these barriers affect their ability to access, accept and demand a culturally sensitive and ethical community-based HIV vaccination program? Findings from this research will help in developing a community-based vaccination preparedness plan and advocacy strategy in resource-poor settings, both in India as well as other countries, including Canada.
 
Jayanna Krishnamurthy
Home Country: India
Degree: M.D. Community Medicine, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India M.B.B.S, Mysore University, Mysore, India
Supervisor:


Project Title:

Dr. Stephen Moses

Developing tools and methods to improve and measure quality of maternal newborn and child health service in developing country settings

Description of the Project: In most developing countries including India, there is a significant rise in institutional births yet this is not resulting in desired reductions in maternal and child mortality rates. This is largely due to poor quality of care in these facilities due to gaps in both the provider competencies and facility system readiness. The proposed postdoctoral work will contribute to the development of newer tools, methods and interventions to improve and measure quality of maternal and newborn care in public facilities at primary and first referral care units of Karnataka. The research work will aim at studying effectiveness of innovations within the existing health systems with due considerations of scalability and cost effectiveness of interventions. The research work has potential to inform public health programs and policies in relation to quality improvement efforts in maternal, newborn and child health.
 
Julie Lajoie
Home Country: Canada
Degree: BSc. : University of Montreal MSc: University of Montreal PhD: University of Montreal Post-Doctoral fellow ; University of Manitoba
Supervisor:


Project Title:

Dr. Keith Fowke

Mucosal immune activation in commercial sex workers

Description of the Project:I am analysing the expression of some proteins in the CVL of commercial sex workers where I will try to define which cells are expressing those proteins in the mucosal tissue. In another project, I am sequencing the CD4 locus gene.
 
Lyle McKinnon
Home Country: Canada
Degree: PhD in Medical Microbiology-U. of Manitoba Postdoctoral fellow, University of Nairobi/ Toronto BSc in Biology-U. of Winnipeg
Supervisor:


Project Title:

Drs. Joshua Kimani, Rupert Kaul

Effect of antiretroviral therapy on mucosal immunology in female sex worker cohorts

Description of the Project: The aim of this study is to determine how antiretroviral therapy affects the mucosal immunology of the female genital tract in high-risk, core transmitter groups in Nairobi, Kenya. This is a longitudinal study that assesses changes in cell populations in the cervix, cytokine milieu, and the effects of genital tract co-infections on shedding of HIV. In addition we will determine the impact of ART on sexual risk taking behaviour and drug resistance patterns. This study has important public health implications for the ability of ART to decrease the odds of HIV transmission from an important core transmitter group.
 
Javier Mignone
Home Country: Argentina
Degree: MSc Health Services Administration, University of Albert
Supervisor:


Project Title:

Dr. Stephen Moses

Community level risk factors of HIV/AIDS in rural India

Description of the Project: The project will take place in rural Karnataka, India. The study will seek to answer the following question: Are underlying factors, such as caste structure, migration, levels of poverty, social capital, types of employment, relations among different religions, etc., impacting more proximate factors (e.g., risk behaviour, sex work, sexually transmitted infections, etc.) and ultimately impacting HIV/AIDS rates? The study will first develop and pre-test village-level data collection tools. It will then conduct a data collection process from a sample frame of 7500 villages. The data will be analyzed for reliability and validity purposes. Further analyses will test hypotheses of community level risk factors for HIV/AIDS.
 
James Sainsbury
Home Country: New Zealand and Canada
Degree: PhD (Victoria University of Wellington) University of Manitoba, Postdoctoral Fellow
Supervisor:


Project Title:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Mucosal immune activation in commercial sex workers

Description of the Project: A genomewide association study identified a novel candidate gene for the HIV-1 resistance phenotype in the Pumwani Sex Worker Cohort. James’ project involves the broad characterization of this gene at the level of genome, the transcriptome and the proteome with the goal of identifying mechanisms of HIV-1 protection.
Canadian Institute of Health Research
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Canadian Institute of Health Research
Canadian Institute of Health Research
Canadian Institute of Health Research
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