Martina Kovarova, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
My current research interests are focused primarily on the study of new approaches in prevention of HIV/AIDS. This includes preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a strategy in which HIV uninfected people use antiretroviral drugs to protect them against HIV acquisition. Effectiveness of this approach has been demonstrated in several clinical trials. However, adherence to drug regimen is essential for PrEP success. To improve adherence and PrEP efficacy, several strategies are being considered. These include effective antiretrovirals, easily administered in single topical or systemic dose pericoitally, and long-acting antiretroviral formulations that release drugs over many weeks systemically, requiring infrequent parenteral administration. Animal models are essential for pre-clinical assessment of new approaches in HIV PrEP. We are using humanized mice expressing a de novo-generated human immune system distributed throughout each animal. This allows infection with a variety of transmitted/founder HIV-1 viruses as well as HIV isolates via relevant routes of transmission.