An improved understanding of HIV reservoir dynamics in tissue is critical to HIV eradication and cure efforts. The goal of this proposal is to help answer a fundamental question: Do measures of HIV persistence in the female reproductive tract provide novel insights into testable virus eradication strategies, relative to similar analyses performed in plasma and PBMC? We hypothesize that the female reproductive tract HIV-1 reservoir is distinct in its decay and persistence during ART, compared to peripheral blood.
In this collaborative project with Miriam Hospital (Susan Cu-Uvin), Los Alamos National Laboratory (Thomas Leitner), and Johns Hopkins University (Mark Marzinke), we characterize the HIV reservoir in female reproductive tract and establish the relationship between blood and female reproductive tract reservoirs. We investigate the contribution of antiretroviral drug tissue penetration to ongoing virus evolution and latency during suppressive ART and explore the effects of novel virus eradication strategies on tissue-derived cells.