NIH Grant Investigates HIV with Artificial Virus Nanoparticles

in Faculty, Front Page, Research
July 10th, 2013

Prof. Bjoern Reinhard, BU Department of Chemistry

Prof. Bjoern Reinhard - BU Department of Chemistry

Dr. Suryaram (Rahm) Gummuluru, BU School of Medicine, Microbiology Department

Dr. Suryaram (Rahm) Gummuluru - BU School of Medicine, Microbiology Department

Collaborators, Dr. Bjoern Reinhard, BU Chemistry, and Dr. Suryaram Gummurulu, BU School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology, have received an award from the NIH to investigate the role and mode of action of non-virus encoded surface functionalities in the capture of HIV-1 by dendritic cells.  Entitled ”Elucidating Non-Virus Encoded HIV Capture through Artificial Virus Nanoparticles (AVNs),” the project involves an interdisciplinary approach requiring expertise in virology and nanotechnology.

Dr. Gummuluru will oversee the biological aspects of this project, including the generation  and purification of virus-like-nanoparticles, isolation and characterization of primary dendritic cells and other cell sources, and the development of the biological reagents (e.g., antibodies and virus mutations) required for these studies. Dr. Reinhard will  oversee the fabrication and characterization of AVNs and will lead the the electron microscopic and optical imaging studies.

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Artificial virus nanoparticles with host-derived surface groups that inhibit HIV-1 infection at the portal of entry and that – by design – evade the development of virus-encoded resistance, as well as the clearance through the host’s immune system will pave the way to highly efficient nanoparticle-based therapeutic strategies against HIV-1, a disease that affects 34 million people worldwide.