The overall goal of the UW/Fred Hutch CFAR Immunology Core is to enrich the immunologic capacity and capabilities of CFAR investigators to address ongoing and new scientific questions in the areas of HIV prevention, vaccine and cure research. The UW/Fred Hutch CFAR Immunology Core has a long history of providing services supporting HIV and HIV-related research to members of the CFAR community. A key feature of the Core is the inclusion of Core leaders with diverse immunological expertise. A major goal is to support early stage investigators and to help foster career development of the next generation of leaders in HIV research. Core faculty therefore deliberately include early stage investigators, so this support occurs both internally within the Core and through support of CFAR users. Highlighting its importance, the first aim is to provide training, consultation, and performance of assays for CFAR investigators, with an emphasis on early stage investigators. Support ranges from extensive in-laboratory training to simple email consultation, and can include performance of assays on a pilot scale at no cost, to fee-for-service assays for larger projects.
The second aim i s to establish and/or develop new technologies and new reagents. The Core leaders maintain state-of-the-art laboratories and continually adopt or develop cutting-edge technologies. These technologies and reagents become immediately available to CFAR users. The Core leverages extensive funding to the Core leaders from NIH and non-NIH sources, enabling this development work. The structure of the Core takes advantages of economies of scale, as exemplified by the access to the technologies within the HIV Vaccine Trials Network laboratory as provided by the Core Director, Dr. De Rosa, and the CFAR Associate Director, Dr. McElrath.
The third aim i s to enable research in mucosal immunology in humans and non-human primates (NHP) and to enable access to the NHP model for HIV disease and AIDS. The importance of the unique characteristics of mucosal surfaces in relation to HIV is increasingly recognized, and thus the Core includes several leaders with mucosal expertise, extending also to NHP models, where mucosal research is often more feasible than in humans. In fact, a new resource including a repository of NHP PBMC, tissue and mucosal samples is now available to CFAR users. An expert in the intestinal/vaginal microbiome has also been added to the Core since research shows a relationship to HIV infection and immunity.
The fourth aim i s to provide access to tools for genomic and transcriptional profiling and specialized analysis methods for high content data. These new methods are recognized as essential to move HIV research into the future. The multidisciplinary nature of the UW/Fred Hutch CFAR Immunology Core leaders, the collaborations with other UW/Fred Hutch CFAR Cores as well as other CFAR Immunology Cores nationwide facilitates a significant contribution towards the NIH HIV research priorities, in particular HIV vaccine, HIV cure, and HIV therapy research, as well as training the next generation of HIV researchers.
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