NIAID provides $7.8M in grants for HIV research

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases divvied up $7.8 million among 14 entities to fund HIV vaccine research. NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health, provided the grants under the Innovation for HIV Vaccine Discovery initiative, an umbrella expected to receive up to $34.8 million over the next four years.

Organizations receiving the money will search for new ways to design a safe and effective HIV vaccine.

"Recent discoveries about the basic biology of HIV and how the virus adapts to its host have provided useful information and new opportunities to guide vaccine development," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci. "These grants are designed to build on that information and stimulate discovery of new ways to design a robust vaccine that prevents acquisition and establishment of latent infection."

June Kan-Mitchell, of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas, El Paso, received one such grant.

"This grant describes a new population of T cells that recognize and fight HIV," Kan-Mitchell said about her project. The goal of her project is to trigger the human body to make a protective immune response against HIV if it is detected.

The financial breakdown of all the grants is as follows:

Altravax (Sunnyvale, CA)

Principal investigator: Robert Whalen, DSc.
Project title: Germline-Specific Immunogens for the Induction of Neutralizing Antibodies to HIV-1.
Award: $597,816 for fiscal year 2012

Catholic University of America (Washington, DC)

Principal investigator: Venigalla Rao, Ph.D.
Project title: Potent Phage T4-Derived V2 Immunogens as HIV Vaccines.
Award: $413,787 for fiscal year 2012

Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH) Principal investigator: Margaret Ackerman, Ph.D.
Project title: Applying High-Performance Protein Engineering Tools to HIV Immunogen Design.
Award: $479,437 for fiscal year 2012
Duke University (Durham, NC) Principal investigator: Herman Staats, Ph.D.
Project title: Mucosal Vaccination to Protect Against HIV-1 Infection at Mucosal Sites.
Award: $492,072 for fiscal year 2012.
Harvard Medical School (Boston) Principal investigator: Amitinder Kaur, M.D.
Project title: Natural Killer T Cells as Modulators of AIDS Vaccine Efficacy.
Award: $846,896 for fiscal year 2012
Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) Principal investigator: Galit Alter, Ph.D.
Project title: Tuning Fc-Effector Functions of HIV-Specific Antibodies.
Award: $609,875 for fiscal year 2012.
NYU Langone Medical Center (New York City) Principal investigator: Catarina Hioe, Ph.D.
Project title: Contributions of Anti-V2 Antibodies in Protection Against HIV.
Award: $579,543 for fiscal year 2012
University of California (Irvine) Principal investigator: Donald Forthal, M.D.
Project title: The Impact of Antibody and pH on Female-to-Male SIV Infection.
Award: $718,324 for fiscal year 2012
University of Maryland (Baltimore) Principal investigator: Charles Pauza, Ph.D.
Project title: Neonatal Fc-Receptor-Targeted Mucosal HIV Vaccine.
Award: $779,175 for fiscal year 2012
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Newark) Principal investigator: Abraham Pinter, Ph.D.
Project title: Optimizing Protective Vaccine Targets in the V1/V2 Domain of HIV-1 gp120.
Award: $566,739 for fiscal year 2012
University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Principal investigator: Ashley Haase, M.D.
Project title: Vaccine Design to Concentrate Protective Antibodies at the Mucosal Border.
Award: $843,856 for fiscal year 2012
University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) Principal investigator: Nikolay Dokholyan, Ph.D.
Project title: Immunogen Design to Target Carbohydrate-Occluded Epitopes on the HIV envelope.
Award: $514,331 for fiscal year 2012.
University of Rochester (Rochester, NY) Principal investigator: Mark Dumont, Ph.D.
Project title: Yeast Genetic Approach to Enhance the Immunogenicity of HIV Envelope Glycoprotein.
Award: $386,250 for fiscal year 2012
University of Texas at El Paso Principal investigator: June Kan-Mitchell, Ph.D.
Project title: Effector and Regulatory Activities of HLA-E-restricted HIV-specific CD8 T Cells.
Award: $531,600 for fiscal year 2012

- see the release

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