University of Nebraska Medical Center

Laboratory of Larisa Poluektova, MD, PhD

Research Goals

Together with Santhi Gorantla, we would like to provide biomedical community with environmentally, genetically, and xenotransplantation-modified mice for the study of human immunity, viral infections/co-infections and related comorbidities, drug interactions, and vaccines.

HIV-1 pathogenesis, therapeutics and vaccines, humanized mice for translational research, stem cell transplantation. The long range goals are to development small animal models to study the pathogenesis of human-specific viral co-infection - HIV-1 and HCV/HBV.

Techniques used in laboratory

  • Hematopoietic stem cells and liver stem cells isolation and transplantation
  • Creation of chimeric mice carrying human blood and liver
  • FACS
  • RT-PCR
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Western blot
  • Studies of adaptive immunity on humanized mice


Margaret R. Larson Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience


Laboratory of Howard E. Gendelman, MD

Howard E. Gendelman, MD

Associate Professor


Benson Edagwa, PhD

Professor, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology


Natalia Osna, PhD

Professor, University of Rochester Medical Center

Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine, The George Washington University

Chairperson, Department of Microbial Pathogens and Immunity, Rush University

Hiroshi Suemizu, PhD

General Manager, Central Institute for Experimental Animals, Japan

Mamoru Ito, PhD

Chief Investigator, Central Institute for Experimental Animals, Japan


Enhancement of Human Immune System Development in Mouse Models

PI: L. Poluektova/S. Gorantla/C. Gurumurthy

Source: NIH/OD R21034048  

We will create a new genetic background of immune deficient mice to improve their ability to support the development of human lymphoid organs and adaptive immunity to human-specific and emerging infections. New models will reflect the human immunity associated with multiorgan pathology and provide the biomedical community with tools for drug and vaccines discoveries, among other translational research.

New generation of long acting nucleos(t)ides and immune stimulant for treatment of chronic hepatitis B

PI: L. Poluektova/Edagwa/Osna

Source: NIH/NIAID 5R01AI163042  

We will convert oral daily HBV treatment regimen (tenofovir and entecavir) and an immunomodulatory agent (tizoxanide) into medicines that can be administered once every two months. Lipophilic nanocrystals will be made from modified parent drugs then evaluated using in vitro and in vivo models to identify a safe and more effective two drug regimen to facilitate a functional cure strategy for HBV infection.

Center for Humanized Mice

PI: L. Poluektova

Source: NIH/OD 5R24OD018546

Center will generate new strains of mice for humanization of blood and liver, and distribute among academic collaborators for acceleration of vaccine and drug development research.

Humanized Mice as a Tool to Monitor of HIV Brain Reservoirs and Effects of Substance Abuse

PI: L. Poluektova

Source: NIH/NIDA 5R21DA041018

Proposes to adapt a humanized mouse model to validate the role of astrocytes and microglia as HIV reservoir s in the brain. Use of the human IL-34-expressing mouse as a driver for enhanced development and engraftment of human neural progenitor cells into glial and innate human immune cells provides the potential for development of a functional model with which to study HIV reservoirs in the brain and the effect of drugs of abuse.

Extracellular vesicles as the vehicles for promoting liver injury induced by HIV and alcohol

PI: L. Poluektova

Source: NIAAA R01AA027189

Liver injury, which is characteristic of HIV-infection, is the second-leading cause of mortality in HIV-infected patients. The rapid progression of liver fibrosis is frequently associated with hepatitis B and C co-infections, but the mechanisms are not clear yet. Here, we examine how hepatitis C co-infection with HIV stress hepatocytes to secrete extracellular vesicles, which in turn initiate the cross-talk between liver parenchymal and nonparenchymal cells, thereby promoting inflammation and fibrosis development.


Multiple PI: L. Poluektova and H. Gendelman

Source NIH/NIA R01 AG043540

This proposal seeks to generate a solid understanding of the abilities to sustain long-acting nanoformulated antiretroviral therapies during aging. The work rests in the idea that these therapies that are given systemically and every week or month will not only be tolerated better for improving patient compliance but lead to reduced systemic toxicities and viral resistance patterns. The work entails an aggressive evaluation of dosing, immune senesence, tolerance and systemic effects of the nanoformulations. The work will be done in tandem with Dr. Larisa Poluektova and her laboratory in evaluation of specific CNS patterns for viral restriction and potential eradication employing current humanized mouse models and newer ones that are being developed where human glial cells are transplanted to a mouse brain.

NanoART Manufacture, Delivery and Pharmacokinetics for Optimizing Drug Adherence

PI: H. Gendelman; Core Leader: L. Poluektova

Source: NIH/NINDS P01DA028555

This is an integrative cross approach translational and multi-investigator program grant seeking to develop nanoformulated antiretroviral drug therapy from the bench to the patient.

Platelet mediated neuroinflammatory response to HIV-1

PI: S. Maggirwa (U. Rochester); Co-I: L. Poluektova

Source: NIH/NINDS R01NS066801

To test whether activation of peripheral platelets by HIV-1 elicits abnormal effects on brain microvascular endothelial cells, thereby altering blood-brain barrier integrity and exacerbating inflammation in the CNS.

Combined Molecular Excision Therapy (CMET) for Eliminating HIV-1

PI: H.E. Gendelman

Source: NIH/NIMH R01MH115860

Small animal model for HBV/HIV Studies: Recapitulation of coinfection pathogenesis and treatment

Co-PI: L. Poluektova and C. Gurumurthy

Source: NIH/NIAID R01 AI147725-01

The application proposes to develop a novel mouse model dually transplanted with human hepatocytes and human immune cells that can be used to study Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV co-infection