November 2017

November 2017

Dear UCSF ARI Community,

As 2017 draws to close, I’d like to highlight some of the most innovative and exciting HIV work that’s been undertaken and celebrated this fall at UCSF and with our affiliates.

The ARI’s World AIDS Day celebration came a little early this year – with the UCSF amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research 2017 Summit: Perspectives on Clinical Studies, hosted here at Mission Bay. Led by our team of investigators and featuring members of the Community Advisory Board, patients who have participated in clinical trials, and those on PrEP, the third annual summit had over 300 attendees. We’ll continue to update our News page with the Summit’s emerging media coverage.

In other fall events, on October 4th the UCSF Library Archives and Special Collections opened “HIV: A Plague of Violence Against Women,” an exhibit of Dr. Art Amman’s, a pediatrician who first identified perinatal HIV transmission in newborns here at UCSF. This collection showcases his photo montages documenting the dual threats of violence against women and HIV in Africa – documents from his own work abroad. The exhibit runs through March, and is an incredibly expressive representation of both Dr. Amman’s medical and artistic talents – it is well worth a visit, as is exploring the work of Dr. Amman’s current organization, Global Strategies.

The Center for AIDS Research is busy planning the 9th East Africa Research Symposium in Kampala, Uganda. This two-day meeting is dedicated to innovative research presentations from East African young investigators, and also incorporates a research proposal workshop. You can learn more about this – one of our CFAR’s headline events – on the CFAR site. Look for our comprehensive update and features of early career investigator awardees in our winter update early next year.

Back here in San Francisco, our investigators have not slowed their pace in terms of new grants and awards, the publication of research with an impact, and wide recognition for their work. In the Division of HIV, Infectious Disease, and Global Medicine, Drs. Elvin Geng, Diane Havlir, Cait Koss, Annie Lutkemeyer, and Sheri Weiser received new or renewal grants totaling over $4 million dollars in funding for their work. Dr. Monica Gandhi, the Medical Director of Ward 86, was the deserving recipient of the HIV Medicine Association’s Clinical Educator Award of 2017.

A study led by Dr. Steve Deeks and Dr. Tim Henrich, which was well-featured at the International AIDS Conference in July, was just published to acclaim in a special issue of PLOS Medicine – an issue that Dr. Deeks is guest editing. This study underscored the importance of timing in initiating antiretroviral treatment for the recently diagnosed, and offers clues as to how we may one day sustain viral suppression after the interruption of treatment based on this timing of initiation. We profiled this paper in Emerging Research on our website, and the summary – with commentary from Deeks and Henrich – details the importance and relevance of the findings. Please do refer to the original article on the PLOS site.

This fall also set off UCSF's capital campaign - an ambitious endeavor with the goal of raising $5 billion for UCSF. The campaign highlights the impressive work of many investigators and clinicians, and profiles the efforts of some of the ARI's HIV experts. The campaign will help ensure that UCSF stays at the forefront of biomedical, clinical, and basic science research and care.

Excitingly launching UCSF into the entertainment world, a PBS special featuring domestic and global work spearheaded by UCSF faculty, The End of AIDS?, won an Emmy for Outstanding Science, Medical and Environmental Reporting. You can watch the award ceremony here, and the actual film in its six parts on the PBS website.

Finally, underscoring our work in vaccine research, the ARI Targeted Action Group (TAG) Vaccine Group turned 20 years old earlier this month, marking decades of dedicated interdisciplinary and cross-industry work dedicated to advances in HIV vaccine research. It's a true marker of the investment our experts have made in finding strategies to eradicate HIV.

As always, I encourage you to check out our News and Events pages, as well as our social media channels, to stay abreast of what’s happening now at the ARI as well as what’s to come. In particular, take a look at what we and some of our affiliates are offering to commemorate World AIDS Day.

A very happy holiday season to you all, and I look forward to sharing more of our progress in the new year.

Paul Volberding, MD

Director, AIDS Research Institute