Katharine Bar, M.D.
University of Alabama Birmingham
Title: "Neutralization sensitivity of SIVsmE660 transmitted/founder viruses"
Project: A non-human primate (NHP) model that accurately predicts the immunogenicity of both T-cell and antibody-based vaccines candidates will hasten the development of a successful HIV vaccine. SIVsmE660 is one of the principal challenge stocks used in NHP vaccine protection studies, but is notably variable in its pathogenicity following mucosal inoculation, thereby limiting its utility in assessing neutralizing antibody effects in vivo. We hypothesize that this variability is due in part to variation in the neutralization sensitivity of the transmitted/founder viruses resulting from mucosal inoculation of SIVsmE660. For this project, I will characterize the neutralization properties of SIVsmE660 and then identify molecular clones of transmitted/founder SIVsmE660 viruses with desirable properties for potential future vaccine studies.
Mentors: My mentors are Dr. George Shaw of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, an expert in basic and translational studies of HIV transmission and infection, and Dr. Norman Letvin of Harvard University, an expert in HIV vaccines and nonhuman primate models.