Two research teams at Duke have received large, multi-year grants from the National Institutes of Health to pursue projects on HIV vaccine development.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awarded a five-year grant totaling more than $9 million to a team led by Mary Klotman, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine.
The NIAID presented a second grant of more than $11 million over five years to a collaborative effort led by Sallie Permar, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Duke, and involving researchers at UNC and the University of California, Davis.
Klotman’s grant will support two research projects and two core facilities that together will aim to develop a safe, effective HIV vaccine.
Klotman’s collaborators include Andrea Cara, Ph.D., a Duke visiting scholar; Michael Anthony Moody, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and director of the Laboratory of B cell Immunotechnology in the Duke Human Vaccine Institute; and Sampa Santra, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Harvard University and a member of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Both grants draw on the longstanding expertise in the Duke Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development led by Barton Haynes, M.D.
Permar’s grant funds two projects and three core facilities to develop a maternal and infant vaccine approach to eliminate pediatric HIV-1 infections.
The first project will study the use of maternal vaccination to elicit immune responses in breast milk and reduce virus transmission via breastfeeding. The second project will be led by Kristina Abel DeParis, Ph.D., at UNC and will assess the ability of an infant vaccine to block HIV infection. The research will include animal models developed at the California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis.
“This is an exciting collaboration between Duke and UNC to combine expertise in maternal and infant immunity and B cell responses, as well as highly-relevant animal models from the UC Davis primate center,” Permar said. “We hope our studies will show how maternal and infant immunizations might work to end infant HIV transmission, which still accounts for more than 200,000 cases globally each year.”