UNMC Grants - $9 million award for study of aging and HIV infection

March 21, 2011

UNMC has received a National Institutes of Health Center Grant totaling $9 million to investigate the now chronic nature of HIV infection and its interaction with aging.

Who: The grant was awarded to Howard Fox, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience and senior associate dean of research and development for the College of Medicine, who leads a research group that investigates issues of aging and HIV infection.

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Howard Fox, M.D., Ph.D.
What: The grant allows researchers to study how the aging process interacts with HIV and treatments in the now prolonged life-span of infected individuals.

"Fortunately current therapy allows those who are infected with HIV to lead a relatively normal life," Dr. Fox said. "However, we are finding that many people are not having trouble with the immune effects of viral infection, rather they are affected by other disorders that are associated with aging, such as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases."

Dr. Fox and others want to determine the mechanisms that lead to the increase in these disorders in HIV-infected people to see how the impact can be reduced.

Why: While HIV-infected individuals are living longer, damaging effects of HIV persist in the brain and may interact with other neurodegenerative disorders. Researchers will investigate new ways to diagnose, predict, treat and prevent brain damage induced by HIV using a systems-biology approach.

The hope is that the research will lead to new means to prevent and treat HIV-induced neurodegenerative disorders and other other neurodegenerative ailments, Dr. Fox said.

How: The center grant provides both core support to UNMC investigators for their research as well as developmental grants to stimulate innovative projects. Learn more about Dr. Fox's research group and how to participate in its activities and funding.

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