Core C ? Uganda Laboratory Core A centerpiece for our CFAR is our powerful collaborative research efforts in Uganda at the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) and Makerere University ? a 26 year old program that is widely recognized as a model for successful international cooperation and progress. Currently over 200 Ugandan scientists and health care professionals are actively involved in our collaborative programs. Thanks to substantial investments over a 15- year period by our CFAR it is now possible to undertake cutting edge molecular virology and immunology investigations in Uganda without having to ship samples abroad. Under the leadership of Dr. Eric Arts, Core C has transitioned from a sample processing site performing routine PCR in 1998 to becoming an advanced DNA sequencing service (www.cfarlabs.com). With the introduction of more advanced research/clinical assays and laboratory certification by the WHO (TAQAS, VQA), the Uganda laboratory Core has now grown to provide $503,389 of services over the last grant cycle involving the processing of >30,000 clinical samples and assay of >5,000 drug resistance genotypes since 1998. With Dr. Arts' move to Canada the running of the laboratory will transition to the very capable hands of Dr. Nankya, a 2009 Ph.D. graduate from CWRU who has been managing the laboratory for the last seven years and recently received a CFAR International Career Development Award from DAIDS/NIH. To manage the logistics from the US side and to assist in the development of new scientific programs in Uganda, we have appointed Drs. W. Henry Boom, a distinguished immunologist and TB expert who has worked in Uganda since 2000, and Jacek Skowronski, an outstanding HIV virologist, as Core co-Directors. To improve the sharing of resources and to promote new research initiatives, the Uganda-CWRU Research Collaboration (UCRC) Immunology Laboratory will move to the JCRC and administered by the Uganda Laboratory Core C. In parallel with the Virology laboratory, the Immunology Laboratory has evolved from a sample processing (PBMC, DNA and RNA extraction) service to become an advanced immunology laboratory, performing 7-color flow cytometry for cell surface and intracellular cytokines, as well as a wide variety of immunological assays. These infrastructure developments will take the Uganda Laboratory Core to the next level in its technological capabilities and set the stage of introduction of new CFAR programs on reservoir measurements, HIV-TB interactions, HIV-associated malignancies and cardiovascular complications, as described below.
The Specific Aims for Core C are: ? To provide virologic and immunologic research support for HIV projects in Uganda aimed at advancing the scientific goals of the Working Groups by US and Uganda-based CWRU/UH CFAR investigators. ? To introduce new technology and provide training for US and Uganda-based CFAR investigators for HIV research and its complications in Uganda. ? Provide support for clinical research building upon the extensive clinical research experience in Uganda by CWRU's TB Research Unit (TBRU) and AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (ACTU) and for social science research by the Center for Social Science Research on AIDS (CeSSRA). In summary, Core C has evolved from a simple service laboratory to an advanced HIV virology research laboratory focused on the emergence of HIV drug resistance and evaluation of HIV clades circulating in Uganda. During this funding cycle we will expand Core C's activities by integrating it with an advanced immunology lab, and by providing clinical and social science research support. These new developments will aid CWRU/UH CFAR investigators and Ugandan trainees to develop new research projects within CFAR's focus areas on HIV immune-pathogenesis, cure initiatives, and AIDS-related malignancies.
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