The goals of the VC are to enable, broaden and enhance HIV/AIDS research by providing state-of-the-art BSL-2-3 laboratory facilities and equipment, experienced and dedicated professional staff, education, training, virology-specific research materials and assays and protein expression capabilities, all to support multidisciplinary, investigator-initiated basic and clinical HIV/AIDS research. Each of our specific aims represent significant value-added to HIV/AIDS research and the overall CFAR mission as they (i) enable live HIV research among all UAB investigators, (ii) foster the development of HIV/AIDS research by new investigators, (iii) broaden the research capabilities among CFAR faculty, and (iv) encourage research that is translational and multidisciplinary in nature. The services of VC are integral to the AIDS Center as they provide critical support to numerous multidisciplinary basic and clinical HIV/AIDS research programs.
The specific aims for the VC are as follows: 1. To provide and maintain state-of-the-art BSL 2-3 laboratory facilities that are necessary to conduct "live" HIV research. 2. To provide safety education and training, and ongoing supervision for all faculty and staff that work in the BSL 2-3 Laboratory. 3. To augment AIDS research capabilities through consultation, assay-specific training, and provision of standardized assays and defined molecular and virologic reagents. 4. To develop specialized genetically engineered tools and assays, including cell lines and viral vectors, to help address new and important investigative challenges in HIV/AIDS research. 5. To continue to offer CFAR investigators the molecular biology services, reagents, and training, that allow a rapid progression from cloning of genes to structure and/or function studies of the gene product. This renewal application reflects important changes that have occurred in the academic HIV/AIDS environment nationally and at UAB since this grant was last competitively renewed. The critical services of two cores that were previously operated independently, the Central Virus Culture Core and the Molecular Biology Core, have been combined into a single core that is now referred to as the Virology Core (VC). This strategy is based on similarities in the nature of virology services offered by the two previous cores and is meant to ensure that we are able to retain and continue to provide critical value-added services, while maximizing proficient utilization of precious CFAR resources.
Studies of HIV immunology, pathogenesis and vaccine research all necessitate access to a state-of-the-art BSL-2-3 laboratory with dedicated equipment and personnel trained in the handling of infectious HIV. The Virology Core thus supports the entire spectrum of basic HIV research and represents an integral component of the AIDS Center. Support of the Virology Core is essential for the continuing success of AIDS investigators at UAB.
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