The ACSR Young Investigator Pilot Award (YIPA) is targeted toward junior investigators and faculty with innovative ideas for translational, clinical and/or behavioral-epidemiological HIV-related research that utilizes ACSR’s annotated biospecimens collected from HIV/AIDS patients and controls from both pre and post-HAART periods. Awards are intended for pilot studies to show feasibility and/or to generate preliminary data that will support efforts to procure future funding of larger research projects.

2015 Pilot Award Recipients

Samantha L. Kendrick, PhD

Dr. Kendrick’s research primarily focuses on the biology of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most commonly diagnosed aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and identifying patients that will benefit from alternative treatment strategies. In particular, her current research project involves determining whether the mechanisms driving aggressive DLBCL in HIV positive patients are similar to established drivers in HIV negative patients. She aims to identify patients at high-risk for chemotherapy resistant disease and evaluate promising novel agents with the potential to lower chemotherapy doses in already dose-sensitive HIV positive patients.

Christine A. King PhD

Dr. King’s research interests lie in understanding how innate immune cells contribute to the pathogenesis of severe viral infections, including Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) driven Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS). Her current research focuses on the role of pro-inflammatory mast cells in driving the genesis and maintenance of KS lesions. Ultimately she hopes to identify novel biomarkers for disease severity and identify previously unknown therapeutic targets for treatment.

Joo Y. Song, MD

Dr. Song’s research interests focus on classical Hodgkin lymphoma and the tumor microenvironment. His current research project with the ACSR involves isolating individual Hodgkin tumor cells and evaluating them by next generation sequencing in HIV associated Hodgkin lymphoma compared to non-HIV associated Hodgkin lymphoma. He hopes to identify genetic signatures that will improve understanding of the pathogenesis of HIV-associated Hodgkin lymphoma.

Joshua Vasquez, MD

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major cause of mortality among HIV infected individuals worldwide. Little is known about the effects of co-infection with HIV and TB on the immune system. Dr. Vasquez’s current research is focused on understanding the effects of TB on the myeloid reservoir of HIV. The ACSR has made it possible to study tissues from co-infected individuals.