Forensic Virology of HIV-Associated Mortality

 

Trainee:

Kristen Tamburro

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Research Mentor:

Dr. Dirk Dittmer, PhD

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Clinical Co-mentor:

Dr. Charles van der Horst, MD

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Home Department Genetics Curriculum
Project Description Kristen is working in Dirk Dittmer's Lab, investigating AIDS-associated virology. She aims to determine viral load of an array of pathogens found in the serum of deceased AIDS patients, in order to better understand how viremia is associated with HIV-related deaths. This will be done by Solexa sequencing serum from AIDS patients and screening for a panel of viruses, including herpesviruses. Kristen is also involved with a clinical trial by the AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG), to assess HIV-related oral mucosal disease and the use of saliva to measure viral load. She aims to determine the relationship between KSHV, CMV, and EBV viral load and AIDS progression, as determined by CD4 count and HIV-1 viral load. Since lesions on the oral mucosal membrane are often the primary sign of HIV-1 infection or disease progression, and oral lesions are much more common in AIDS patients with a low CD4 count, she is interested in determining if the severity of AIDS correlates to increased herpes viral loads.
Click here for a copy of Kristen's CV