Personal Statement

The general goal of my studies is to understand cell-cell interactions in the context of human tissues in norm and pathology. In particular, I am interested in deciphering pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in human tissues. Towards this goal, my colleagues and me developed a system of human tissues ex vivo that support replication of HIV and of other viruses without artificial activation or stimulation. We are able to maintain ex vivo many human tissues, including those important for HIV transmission and pathogenesis: cervico-vaginal, gastro-intestinal and lymphoid ones. These tissues preserve their cytoarchitecture and many in vivo functions. In such in vivo-like system we study mechanisms of HIV-1 induced immunodeficiency and the role of host and viral factors in this process. These factors largely determine the course of HIV infection. Also, pathogenesis of other viruses and their interactions with HIV are studied in these tissue systems. Our human tissues ex vivo are now used as a platform to test new antivirals. Recently, we started investigating pathogenesis of Zika virus and towards this goal we developed an ex vivo system of  placenta tissue. More recently we started to investigate the role of extracellular vesicles in various human diseases, including HIV disease, atherosclerosis and pregnancy complications. These heterogeneous vesicles are now considered to be an important system of cell-cell communications both under normal and pathologic conditions. To analyze individual vesicles we developed a nanotechnology that can be also applied for analysis of individual virions. With this technology, "flow virometry" we now address important aspect of interactions of viruses and extracellular vesicle with tissue cells.  

Continued on the Research page...

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