Many SD CFAR members and grant recipients have established impressive careers in HIV research and related disciplines. Please join us as we celebrate their successes!
Avenir Awards for HIV/AIDS research are offered annually by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). These awards are intended to support innovative research by new investigators working at the intersection of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. We are proud to count three Avenir Award winners among our SD CFAR members. Read about their research below.
Sara Gianella Weibel, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of the SD CFAR Translational Virology Core, will use her $2.3 million NIDA Avenir award over the next four years for the proposed “HOME” project: HIV-associated Opioid Micro-Environment. Read more here.
Dan Werb, PhD, received one of the first Avenir Awards when the program was launched in 2015. He used his 2015 Avenir Award to develop the PRIMER project: Preventing Injecting by Modifying Existing Responses. Read more here.
Laramie Smith, PhD, Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, UC San Diego School of Medicine; Co-Director, SDSU-UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use (IRSU); Faculty Lead, SD CFAR Transgender/Nonbinary Community Advisory Board (TCAB), received funding from the California HIV/AIDS Research Program for the Trans(C)ending HIV Syndemics Collaborative.
This implementation study will convene the Trans(C)ending HIV Syndemics Collaborative that will be comprised of six representatives from Black and Latinx Trans-led Advocacy groups and six representatives from HIV and gender-affirming care providers in San Diego. Guided by the EPIS Framework the Collaborative will work together to Explore how best to integrate evidence-based interventions (EBI) to co-address HIV and SVS related needs and prepare to implement this complex EBI strategy in a local community-based organization. The Collaborative will meet to identify facilitators and barriers to Implementing and Sustaining this strategy with high fidelity. We will assess the impact of this strategy on sustained engagement in a status neutral HIV care continuum (i.e., HIV testing or viral load monitoring every 6 months over 18 months) among 125 Black and Latina transgender women with SVS syndemic exposures.
Jamila K. Stockman, PhD, MPH, Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Co-Director of the Health Equity Sociobehavioral Science Core, has been awarded a 5-year R01 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health - R01 MH125785: Addressing Trauma from Interpersonal Violence through a Web-based Peer Navigation-Social Support Intervention to Improve ART Adherence" that began on July 1, 2021.
Link for further details about the study: RePORT
Antoine Chaillon, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at UC San Diego. He has worked with SD CFAR researchers in the Translational Virology Core since 2012 and is currently the Core's Leadership Trainee. In July 2021, Dr. Chaillon earned an NIH R01 grant to investigate brain cells infected with HIV. By analyzing specimens from the Last Gift study, Dr. Chaillon and colleagues will determine (1) how these cells respond to antiretroviral medications and opioids, (2) whether HIV can escape the brain and travel to other areas of the body, and (3) the extent to which these cells contribute to brain inflammation neurological damage. Findings from this study will contribute to research in HIV cures as well as improved brain health in persons living with HIV.
Erik Storholm, PhD, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at SDSU has been awarded a 5-year R01 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health on the study "Intimate Partner Violence and HIV Prevention among Sexual Minority Men." This research will study the impact intimate partner violence has on HIV risk, sexually transmitted infections, and the use of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among a racially and ethnically diverse cohort of sexual minority men in Los Angeles.
Prior work has shown that sexual minority men experience intimate partner violence at alarming rates and has also linked intimate partner violence with increased risk for HIV, but less is known about the impact of intimate partner violence on HIV testing, PrEP uptake, and the persistence of PrEP use. The proposed innovative observational cohort study will examine how the perpetration and/or receipt of various forms of intimate partner violence (e.g., physical, sexual, and psychological; in the context of steady or casual intimate relationships) contribute to HIV risk and protective behaviors among sexual minority men over a 24-month timeframe. This award started May 1, 2021.
Eileen Pitpitan, PhD, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at San Diego State University and adjunct Associate Professor in the UC San Diego Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, has received an R01 on the study: "Integration of Peer Navigation and mHealth Technology to Improve Viral Suppression among Racial and Ethnic Minority PLWH in Community-Based HIV Care Clinics" that began on September 30, 2020.
Sara Gianella Weibel, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of the SD CFAR Translational Virology Core, has received an R01 on the study: “Mechanisms of CMV Replication on HIV Persistence” that began on Aug 19, 2020.
Susan Little, MD, Professor in Residence, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, UC San Diego School of Medicine, and Director of the SD CFAR Ending the Epidemic Scientific Working Group, received a new award that began on July 8, 2020: R01 MH124590: Risks, Benefits, and Stakeholder Perspectives of Molecular Epidemiology for HIV Prevention (HIV-ME).
Laramie Smith, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, UC San Diego School of Medicine; Co-Director, SDSU-UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use (IRSU); Faculty Lead, SD CFAR Transgender/Nonbinary Community Advisory Board (TCAB), received a new award (her first R01!) that began on July 1, 2020: R01 MH123282: NEXUS: A Novel Social Network Approach to Study the Effects of Intersectional Stigma on HIV Prevention Among Latino MSM.
Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor, UC San Diego Department of Medicine; Co-Director, Center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics; and Co-Director, SD CFAR International Core, received a new award that began on April 1, 2020: R01 DA04964: Ethno-Epidemiology of HCV, HIV, and Overdose Associated with Drug Markets and Drug Tourism.