The objectives of the Virion Production and Infection Assay Core facility within the Interdisciplinary HPV Prevention Center (IHPC) are five-fold: i) to prepare infectious HPV and RhPVI virions, Pseudovirions (PseudoV), and virus-like particles (VLP) vaccine platforms for Projects #1 and #2;ii) to perform diagnostic experimental infections to assess neutralization of serum from Projects #1 and #2;iii) to perform quantitative molecular diagnostic viral infectivity assays for Projects #1 and #2;iv) to perform quantitative fluorescent imaging infection assessment in tissues for Projects #1 and #2;and v) to develop and house the IHPC's biospecimen shared resource generated through large-scale population-based HPV genotyping performed in Project #3. By maintaining a core facility, we will minimize the virus particle preparation variability and yield that commonly occurs with different purification protocols and different personnel. Additionally, the Core will maintain the rigor and consistency of standardized sample handling, processing and sensitive analysis for infection detection, diagnostics and specimen archiving. Having centralized procedures, laboratories and personnel for sample preparation and storage and for infection assays will reduce the possibility for contamination and facilitate reproducible and sensitive analyses, maximizing efficiency and use of the valuable resources. The research projects proposed in this application will require a core facility to supply investigators with purified HPV16, HPV31, and RhPVI virions, PseudoVs, and VLPs for vaccine platforms and for serum-based antibody screens via ELISA. Furthermore, in dedicated adjacent space, access to a shared biospecimen resource will be available for extended use to researchers receiving project approvals from the New Mexico HPV Pap Registry Steering Committee. The infrastructure and personnel expertise for this Viral Assay Core have been established through previous and ongoing research efforts of obviously synergistic laboratories at UNM. The Director of the IJNM-IHPC, Dr. Cosette Wheeler is a global leader in HPV molecular epidemiology and diagnostics, and her research group has been at the forefront of the HPV vaccine clinical trials and is now leading with the infrastructure in place to monitor its effectiveness on New Mexico. Dr. Wheeler will serve as the Co-Director of this Center Core. Viral Assay Core Director Michelle Ozbun is an expert in virus particle production, and the quantitative assessment of experimental papillomavirus infections. Based on the cumulative experience of the investigators, we are in a unique position to successfully carry out this clearly translational STI Center program related to HPV infection.

Public Health Relevance

The University of New Mexico Interdisciplinary STI Prevention Center will focus on the most common sexually transmitted agents, human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. To maximally realize improvements in HPV prevention, the Center will partner basic biological discovery, technological advancements, populationbased effectiveness and diffusion of interventions across laboratory, clinical &real-worid settings.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1)
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University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
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