The mission of the Viral/Molecular Core (Core D) is to provide high quality virological and molecular services, facilities, consultation and training to Penn CFAR investigators;facilitate the use of emerging and/or specialized technology;support scientific priorities of the Penn CFAR including both existing programs and emerging Scientific Working Groups (SWG);support, mentor and train the next generation of investigators;and encourage entry into HIV/AIDS research by established non-AIDS researchers. Specific Core goals are to: (1) Provide state-of-the-art virology services: the Core maintains a large virus repository, performs virus isolation from patient samples, amplifies virus stocks, performs Gag antigen ELISA quantification, and other viral services;(2) Provide state-of-the-art molecular services: the Core has established a new Single Genome Amplification (SGA) service and provides Deep Sequencing, real-time qPCR, as well as full-service molecular virology support, including a GLP-like release assay for gene therapy clinical studies;(3) Facilitate utilization of new emerging technologies and provide support for CFAR strategic priorities: In addition to the recently-introduced SGA and Deep Sequencing services, new services in the coming cycle to support CFAR initiatives include quantification of integrated viral DNA in patient samples, an inducible latent virus (lUPM) assay, and an ultrasensitive viral load assay. (4) Provide education and training: the Core will continue to provide training in virological and molecular techniques as well as consultation and experimental design support for optimal application of new services;(5) Provide mentoring and facilitate cross-disciplinary outreach: The Core is heavily invested in mentoring/support of junior investigators, and outreach to bring non-HIV/AIDS investigators into HIV/AIDS research. In the current cycle, the Core has offered a wide array of heavily used services, introduced major new technologies, and provided support to 98 individual investigators and 147 projects that generated $740,500 in chargebacks. The Core provided extensive mentorship for emerging junior investigators, training/education for students, postdocs and other laboratory personnel, engaged multiple investigators in other fields to focus on HIV/AIDS research, and worked closely with other Cores of the CFAR to achieve collaborative goals. These efforts will continue in the coming cycle, along with additional major new services to support new research priorities.

Public Health Relevance

The Viral/Molecular Core (Core D) adds value to the Penn CFAR and its research mission by offering specialized services, reagents and materials;training, education and technology to enhance research skills and capacity;and mentoring and outreach to expand the pool of investigators working in the field, which together enhance the capacity for cutting edge research dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of HIV/AIDS and its complications.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1)
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University of Pennsylvania
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