This Center mechanism will facilitate diagnosis, testing, and interventional strategies in neuroAIDS. Experts in a number of fields will direct Cell-Tissue-Animal, Imaging, Omics, and Therapeutics Cores. These combined with a Developmental Core to stimulate new and innovative work and an Administrative Core to integrate and run the Center will serve to significantly enhance our knowledge of neuroAIDS, its prevention and treatment. Visit individual Core pages for more information and contact information.
The overall aims of this Center are
1. Lead neuroAIDS research based on the NIH High Priority topics of research for support using AIDS-designated funds (NOT-OD-15-137).
This will occur through an emphasis on three central areas of translational research in the neurological manifestations of HIV/AIDS (neuroAIDS).
A. Diagnostics: discovery of pathogenic mechanisms, associated biomarkers, and novel means to assess neurological disease
B. Testing: in disease models, both in vitro and in vivo
C. Interventional Strategies: development of therapeutics and eradication measures
2. Promote innovation and continued significance of the CHAIN Center
The CHAIN Center is committed to nurturing the spirit of innovation by ensuring the spread of a vibrant scientific momentum and a state of continuous self-renewal. This will be accomplished through:
A. Enhancing CHAIN expertise through partnerships. We have long-standing collaborations throughout the neuroAIDS and scientific communities, and will continually expand, for example for reservoir and cure research, comorbidity work, and bringing new technologies to the field.
B. Leveraging resources to enhance CHAIN visibility, communications, and function. Our topical open access annual CHAIN colloquia and encouraging open access to data and protocols help drive this.
C. Using strengths to further develop scientific areas of research. Our work is marked by innovations, and we will take advantage of the increasing density of basic science investigators and ongoing clinical trials worldwide to grow UNMC resources, further building the science at UNMC. We will continue to refine and improve our approaches to maintain the outstanding innovative research supported by the Center.
3. Foster areas of emphasis in neuroAIDS research.
A. Development of tools, databases, and analyses that can greatly accelerate neuroAIDS research: We drive access to data through our databases, combining clinical data with research data performed on these specimens into a web-based database accessible to neuroAIDS and other researchers. We will continue to expand these efforts, as well as drive new tools such as iPhone testing apps.
B. Focus on comorbidities and cofactors: NeuroAIDS has always had confounds, adding to this now is aging with HIV, and treatment. Some aspects have been relatively ignored such as effects of sex differences; whereas, others remain problematic, such as mental illness and drug abuse. We will foster efforts in our investigators’ studies.
C. Research on reservoirs and working towards a cure: Studies on the brain and other potential reservoirs are critical in this work. Our investigators are using both humanized mice and nonhuman primate models to study brain virus including, importantly, during antiretroviral treatment and comorbid conditions such as drug abuse.
D. Continuing to position our Center to address new priorities in neuroAIDS research: This is a hallmark of our Center and is highly facilitated and grown through Center activities.
Importantly, we have guiding principles to foster our success:
- Discouraging research silos,
- Promoting science at the leading edge,
- Providing cores to foster and support scientific discovery,
- Supporting NIH research programs, and
- Insuring rigor and transparency.
As neuroAIDS has evolved, our Center has not only kept pace and often foresaw, and provided the skills and knowledge to enable our investigators to continue our contributions to this important field. The CHAIN Center is crucial to drive and accomplish new findings.