May 31 2018

11:00 158 Hershey Hall

This seminar is sponsored by QCB and MIMG

Alison Hill

Dynamics of HIV persistence: Barrier or pathway to a cure?


Alison Hill
Program for Evolutionary Dynamics
Harvard University

Sponsored by the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics and the Institute for Quantitative and Computational Biosciences

HIV infection can be effectively treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, but new classes of drugs are needed to permanently cure the infection. In this talk I will discuss our work developing mathematical and computational methods to better understand the mechanisms of HIV persistence and evaluate new methods to cure the disease. First, I will show how models have helped us understand how much the pool of latent virus must be reduced to delay or prevent the viral rebound when drugs are stopped. We explain why existing anti-latency drugs have had negligible benefit, and why we have seen multiple cases of apparent (but false) “cures” of HIV. I will include examples of how we can use the kinetics of viral rebound during “failed” cure interventions to back out the relative role of reduced latent infection versus boosted immune control in partial remission of infection. Secondly, I will discuss how longitudinal studies of viral genetics during antiretroviral therapy can be used to help elucidate the dominant cause of long-term persistence. This includes a new method we have developed to quantify how important the proliferation of latently-infected cells is to driving long-term viral persistence, which also suggests that therapies to target this process could be highly effective. In addition, I will discuss why phylogenetic tests for HIV “evolution” during antiretroviral therapy can be misleading, and why latency is still the best supported reason for viral persistence. Overall, this work highlights the role that simulation, analysis, and inference using mathematical models can play in informing new potentially-curative treatments for HIV.

Tuesday, May 31, 2018
Hershey Hall Grand Salon, Room 158











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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