Outstanding news for Dr. Art Poon this week as he has been notified that he has been approved for not one, but two CIHR project grants!
Dr. Poon describes the projects that his team will be working on with this funding.
"Development, evaluation and implementation of genetic clustering methods for the real-time molecular surveillance of HIV outbreaks." A person’s HIV-1 population becomes genetically unique within months of infection. A cluster of infections that remain genetically similar may therefore represent a recent outbreak. Hence, clustering techniques can potentially be used to rapidly screen clinical databases to detect ongoing outbreaks in "near real time". We are developing more accurate outbreak detection techniques, and we are working with clinical sites in Uganda and Malaysia to build systems to assist regional public health efforts while maintaining protections for individual privacy.
"Phylodynamics of HIV within hosts." HIV-1 infects different parts of the body and types of cells. Each infected cell may enter a dormant state, making the virus invisible to the immune system and drug treatments, only to become reactivated months or years afterwards. The existence of these latent reservoirs is a key reason why it is so difficult to cure an HIV-1 infection. We are developing new machine learning methods to extract information about HIV-1 latency and how the virus spreads in the body from the differences in virus genomes. Our findings will support the development of HIV cure strategies.
Congratulations Dr. Poon!
Read more about CIHR Progrant Grant - 2017 Fall Competition Results.